Marquette Sweeps Pittsburgh to Win Final BIG EAST Volleyball Quarterfinal Match

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. - In the final quarterfinal match of the day, No. 3 seed Marquette swept No. 6 seed Pittsburgh 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-16) to win its second BIG EAST Championship match in program history. The Golden Eagles, who are playing in their first BIG EAST Championship since 2006, also beat the Panthers in the school's first tournament win. Pittsburgh, who was playing in its third consecutive BIG EAST Championship, has fallen in the quarterfinals in back-to-back years.
 
The Golden Eagles, who lead the conference in hitting percentage, outhit the Panthers .432 to .182 in the sweep. Both Ciara Jones and Ashley Beyer notched double-digit kills, as Jones had 12 and Beyer had 11. Senior setter Nikki Klingsporn had a match-high 40 assists along with four blocks. For Pittsburgh, All-BIG EAST Second Team selection and senior Imani Harper had nine kills and added four digs.
 
Marquette took set one from the Panthers 25-19. The Golden Eagles led by as many as eight at 15-7 and held an advantage throughout the entire first set. A kill by senior Rabbecka Gonyo on a nice tip over the Pittsburgh blockers gave the Golden Eagles a 22-15 lead late in the set, and a Pitt error clinched the first frame win. Beyer led the way with four kills while Gonyo and Jones each had three. Klingsporn, an All-BIG EAST First Team selection, had 14 assists in the set. For the Panthers, Harper notched five of the team's 14 first-set kills.
 
The Golden Eagles took a 2-0 lead with a 25-21 win in the second frame. Jones came up big in the set, recording five kills on ten swings, including the final point. The teams exchanged points through the majority of the session as the set was tied on six different occasions. Marquette was able to separate itself down the stretch, winning four of the final six points. Klingsporn had 11 more assists to go with two digs and a block. The team also recorded four blocks as the Golden Eagle defense held the Panthers to a .065 hitting percentage.
 
MU completed the sweep in the third set with a 25-16 win thanks to a .452 hitting percentage. Three players recorded four kills in the set to help clinch the victory, including Jones who did it on a .571 hitting percentage. The squad took control early in the set, expanding a 13-10 lead into an 18-11 advantage. Klingsporn added 15 more assists while freshman libero Julie Jeziorowski had seven digs to help on the defensive end.
 
Marquette faces No. 2 seed Louisville in the second semifinal match at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Golden Eagles beat the Cardinals in five sets on Nov. 12.
 
Quarterfinals, Friday, Nov. 19
Match 1: No. 5 Notre Dame 3, No. 4 Villanova 1 (25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 25-14)
Match 2: No. 1 Cincinnati 3, No. 8 USF 0 (25-7, 25-13, 25-14)
Match 3: No. 2 Louisville 3, No. 7 Seton Hall 1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21)
Match 4: No. 3 Marquette 3, No. 6 Pittsburgh (25-19, 25-21, 25-16)
 
Semifinals, Saturday, Nov. 20
Match 5: No. 1 Cincinnati vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, 1 p.m.
Match 6: No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 3 Marquette, 3:30 p.m.
 
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 21
Match 7: Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m. (LIVE - ESPNU)