Volleyball Pushes Marquette to the Brink in 3-1 Defeat

Johanna Ovsenek had 12 kills and a .435 hitting percentage against Marquette
Johanna Ovsenek had 12 kills and a .435 hitting percentage against Marquette

Fairfield, CT – The SHU volleyball team nearly took Marquette to a fifth set but ultimately fell, 3-1, Thursday night, snapping the Pioneers program best 22 match home winning streak.  Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, CA) registered a match high 25 kills for the second straight contest to power the Sacred Heart offense.  Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) was the squad's most efficient attacker, notching a .435 hitting percentage to go along with 12 kills.

Marquette (11-4) jumped on the Pioneers early, building a comfortable 8-3 lead in the first set.  SHU cut the deficit to 13-8 on back-to-back kills from Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO), who finished the night with seven kills.  The Golden Eagles would pull away late and close out the set 25-15 following a kill from Ciara Jones.  Jones, Danielle Carlson, and Ashley Beyer all co-lead the Marquette attack with 13 kills in the match.

Sacred Heart (11-5) came out swinging to start the second set and took a 4-1 edge after a Roleder kill.  The Pioneer attack posted a .382 hitting percentage in the frame, totaling 18 kills.  Roleder put up nine of her 25 kills in the set while Ovsenek went a perfect six kills on six swings as SHU leveled the match at 1-1.  The Pioneers won back-to-back points starting at 21-21 following a timeout taken by head coach Rob Machan.  The two sides traded points down the stretch with Ovsenek supplying the decisive kill to give Sacred Heart the 25-23 triumph.

The Golden Eagles came out of the locker room and stormed out to a 10-3 advantage in set number three.  The Pioneers fought back and twice closed the gap to three points at 15-12 and 16-13.  Marquette regained the momentum and claimed nine of the next 13 points to take the set, 25-17, and push back in front overall, 2-1.

Sacred Heart maintained a slim lead throughout the fourth set until rattling off four straight points, including two service aces from Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA), to take a 21-17 lead and force Marquette to use a timeout.  The large crowd inside the Pitt Center made plenty of noise as the Pioneers earned two set points at 24-22 following a kill from Sage.  Carlson posted a kill for Marquette to successfully side-out and Kelsey Mattai and Holly Mertens dumped in one of Marquette's 14 blocks to level the set, 24-24.   Beyer issued a kill to give the Golden Eagles a match point, 25-24, and force Machan to call his second timeout.

The Pioneers responded as Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, CA) dished out one of her nine assists of the set, she had 27 in the match, to Ovsenek to knot the score line at 25-25.  Marquette got another chance to end the match following a SHU service error.  Jones and Mattai finished a wild point that included several Pioneer attacks with another Marquette block to end the set, 27-25, and the match, 3-1.

Despite the loss Sacred Heart will look to build off the positive performance as they continue Northeast Conference play.  This weekend the Pioneers will travel to face league foes Bryant and Central Connecticut State.