By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
Preston and Marquette Catholic square off in volleyball tonight with the Big East Conference title on the line.
Marquette (21-5, 6-0 conference) is ranked eighth in Class 1A, while the Trojans (21-4, 6-0) are No. 9. Preston has won its past nine matches, including a win over Marquette in the finals of the Mohawks' tournament.
“It helped us realize that anyone who comes and works hard on that day will end up with the W,” Preston senior Cassie Aldis said. “If you work harder than your opponent, you will win.”
Marquette suffered three of its five losses in its past eight matches. The other losses came to Class 5A Marion Linn-Mar and Class 4A No. 9 Maquoketa.
The Mohawks are looking for their second consecutive undefeated conference season.
“It means a lot to us,” Marquette senior Danielle Bender said. “That loss (to Preston) was really hard on us, but if we had to lose to them, that was the time. We’re going to go out and play our game and not let anything get to our head. If we play how we can, then it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Marquette won the first two meetings between the teams this year and all four meeting last year.
“We’ve played them a ton of times, and this is the big one,” Preston senior Brooke Krogman said. “We know it’s going to be a tough one, but we’ve got to come out and play. We can’t get down because they’ll take it to us if we get down.”
Aldis said one key for the Trojans was not letting Marquette get any big runs.
“We’re going to have to bring our focus and our A game because they are a very good team,” she said. “If we let them get a whole bunch of points at one time, it’s not good for us.”