Marquette Volleyball 2022 Season Preview: Returning Players

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That season opener against Kentucky No. 11 is getting closer to us at this point, so it’s time to really get going and do a season preview for Marquette Volleyball!

We’ll talk about the women head coach Ryan Theis has back this fall from last year’s roster in this article. Future articles will talk about the newcomers to the roster and some questions ahead of the team for this season, and if you missed any of that, please scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out the link to our StoryStream with the preview of all season in one place.

Ultimately, if we go alphabetically by position, we get to talking about two notable strengths from the returning player roster before we talk about two notable question mark positions. This will make sense as we get there, so let’s get to it!

Marquette fires player who saw action in all 113 sets last season, and that’s libero Carly Skrabak. For one, she led the team in digs at 3.77 per set and she was the only Golden Eagle north of three per frame this year. However, given Theis’ “everyone’s gotta do a little bit” style, Skrabak only finished with the seventh-best digging average in the Big East last season. She was obviously the backbone of Marquette’s defensive efforts, it’s just that the team model last season kept her from getting the league-wide credit she probably deserved. Given what the rest of the returning roster looks like, it’s entirely possible that Skrabak will end up getting a much bigger role or at the very least a more garish statistical profile this season.

It’s also highly likely that Skrabak will be Marquette’s libero all year. The Tennessee senior is the only DS returning from MU with real experience. Jadyn Garrison and Samantha Naber were freshmen last season, and with Katie Schoessow taking up pretty much all the playing time “the coaches want two DS’s there right now” it has limited their ability to get on the court. Garrison ended up with 50 sets played in 24 of Marquette’s 32 matches, which seems like a decent amount…but she only recorded 13 digs, just two more than her combination of service ace and service errors. Naber did more in less time, registering 20 digs in 23 sets in 17 matches. That’s okay for either woman, but when you’re rolling less than a dig a set, you’re not really counted on to play defensive specialist. Megan Lund is MU’s third deep play in the DS department, and the good news is that the fall season saw her double the number of sets she played in the spring after joining the team late in the process . This dubbing took her to 12 sets in 10 appearances, and compared to her DS roster? A dig against Georgetown on September 25.

Someone has to play Katie Schoessow’s rotations this season. I don’t know who it is, but it will have to be someone, and the most likely options are one of these three women. Will they be up to the challenge? We will see!

This is an interesting position for Marquette. The known quantity is Carsen Murray, who sat for just three sets all season last year and therefore barely missed this group that played in the 113. She hit .336, making her the second most accurate from across the Big East at the end of the season and averaging 1.54 kills per set. Very good things for someone who trails Savannah Rennie in terms of MB pecking order last year. The same goes for the stat chart in the blocking department, as Murray finished second on the team behind the now deceased Rennie with 0.86 tricks per set. It was good enough for a tie for 15th in the Big East a year ago.

Murray’s place in the lineup is pretty established at this point. The only question at stake is whether she plays the same role or whether Theis and his team drop her in the more attacking role of Rennie. The bigger question is who will fill the space vacated, one way or another, by Rennie’s departure. It could either be Claire Nuessmeier Where Anastasjia Svetnikand you could convince me back and forth about it.

Nuessmeier played as Murray in the spring alongside Rennie, appearing in all 51 sets and averaging 1.31 eliminations and 0.76 blocks with a 0.294 completion percentage. Looking back, no one faults the coaching staff for announcing that Murray was ready to take on the role in the fall. However, there isn’t much Mo time available, and so Nuessmeier played in just 25 sets out of 18 matches last fall. She is clearly capable of being a Big East caliber midfielder, as those spring numbers are perfectly respectable.

Svetnik is another story. She got transferred from Oregon State and then someone, predictably, behind Rennie and Murray and Nuessmeier, she performed only sporadically, appearing in just 10 sets through November 6. That’s when Marquette lost Hannah Vanden Berg for the season, and Svetnik got the call to replace her in the rotation. As of the Butler match on November 14, Svetnik has played in each of United’s last 19 sets of the season and has averaged 1.26 eliminations with 0.95 blocks while hitting 0.307. In short, she went from doing nothing to becoming MU’s third or fourth outside hitter and used her height of 6’3″ to make excellent plays at net in defense. To some extent, the contribution of Svetnik’s season finale makes you react like Okoye in Avengers: Infinity War when she sees Scarlet Witch make her first impact on the battlefield in Wakanda: why was she on the sidelines until now?

It could be either, and I wouldn’t be surprised by either. Then again, maybe Svetnik fits better as a hitter, and that could end up opening the door to Hattie Bray to find a way to the ground. The 6’2” sophomore didn’t play for the Golden Eagles at all last fall because if we couldn’t find time for Svetnik, how the hell could we find time for a first-year student ? I can’t argue with the logical structure of the coaching staff, but it leaves Bray heading into his second season on campus with no live action experience. She was a top 150 prospect coming out of Wautoma High School in Wisconsin, so this might just be a case of Theis and his aides wanting her to get used to college volleyball before letting it go. That’s actually what they did with Carsen Murray in the spring of 2021, so it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.

Remember a minute ago when I mentioned losing Hannah Vandenberg for the season to a knee injury in early November last fall? Yeah. So about that. Vanden Berg is back on Marquette’s roster this fall after averaging 2.02 kills and hitting .227 in 85 sets last fall. That’s generally good for what amounted to Marquette’s No. 4 option on offense, but as you can tell from the fact that I lead this section with her, that won’t be enough this season. Marquette arrives this fall without Hope Werch and Taylor Wolf in the top two batting spots, so several people are going to have to step up and take the best offensive positions. It could be Vanden Berg… if she’s healthy. There are already two pictures of her taken in training this fall in the United Picture Archive, and the good news is that she’s not even wearing a knee pad. The bad news is that she is also not wearing knee pads unlike the other women, indicating that she is not 100% participating in the drills and practice. This is not surprising since we are only nine months away from an injury so devastating that HVB moved as little as possible on its crutches during last season’s end games. If she can’t go, she can’t go, and that’s it.

The real problem with Vanden Berg not being able to contribute is that she is one of two returning outside hitters on the roster. If there’s any reason to worry about exactly what Marquette’s ceiling is as a team this fall, “two returning outside hitters” is pretty good. With Vanden Berg’s injury history to consider, the woman with the inside track to be Marquette’s main forward this fall is Jenna Reitma. This inner track unfortunately comes back to him by default, but it’s not without merit. As a freshman last year, she appeared in 80 of United’s sets and only missed one match. She averaged 1.68 kills per set, which is fine for a fourth or fifth option, but only averaged .152 over 433 total swings. If Reitsma is going to be the main focus of MU’s offense this fall, the 5’11” Michigan native will need to be much more precise with her swings. Wolf hit .300 and Werch hit .244 while occupying near 40% of the team’s total attacks last season to give you an idea of ​​what we’re talking about here. Reitsma doesn’t need to be a world beater, but she needs to be much better if she wants to hold the fort for an NCAA Tournament contender.

If you thought Marquette was having trouble at the outside hitter, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In their returning passer corps, the Golden Eagles return a total of 17 assists in 14 sets. All 17 belong to Caroline Dragani. Portland State’s one-off transfer backed Claire Mosher and Taylor Wolf in Marquette’s two-set rotation for the spring and fall seasons in 2021, and saw just 18 sets of action in the 46 games of MU. She’s recorded 19 career assists for the Golden Eagles, and if that doesn’t inspire you for someone who could be called upon to guide the offense, well, I don’t blame you. Nothing against Dragani here because I would struggle to get Mosher or Wolf off the ground if I was the coach, but that’s the situation Theis is in right now. This also probably explains why he came out and added Yadhira Anchante to the roster, but that’s a discussion for a future article.

Guess you can do the math, so you already figured out that Dragani had all 17 of those assists last season. United’s other returning passer is Ella Fotia 6’0″ sophomore from Madison. Officially, this will be her third season with the Golden Eagles as she chose to graduate high school early and enroll at Marquette in time to be on the roster. for the spring 2021 season. She didn’t play at all that spring, to no one’s surprise for the same reasons Dragani didn’t play much, but she was brought down by a pre-season injury at the started the fall campaign a year ago and hasn’t been on the court all season. Again, it’s not like she’s going to see much playing time with Mosher and Wolf on the list, but it’s also not great that one of United’s two returning passers ahead of the 2022 season has absolutely no college experience on the pitch.

We’ll have to wait and see if Dragani or Foti will have a major impact on the team this season, and it could come down to whether or not the team uses the two-set rotation again in 2022.

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