Marquette lost 3-1 to Purdue in the second round after losing to Dayton two years ago. It finished 10-4 last season and did not make the NCAA tournament. Marquette ranks 16th in the RPI. Dayton ranks 40th.
Dayton and Marquette have a number of common opponents. They both beat Illinois State 3-0. They both lost 3-0 to Wisconsin and 3-0 to Kentucky, though Dayton lost two 3-0 matches to the Badgers. Marquette beat Wright State 3-2, while Dayton lost 3-2 to Wright State. Marquette beat Xavier 3-1, and Dayton beat Xavier 3-0.
“They’ve been traditionally a really good team,” Horsmon said. “They were probably really close to being one of the top 16 seeds. They’re really well coached. They don’t give you a lot of free points. They have really good players. They’re going to a really really good match for us, and we’re going to have to play well to beat them.”
This will be Dayton’s second NCAA tournament experience of the calendar year. It beat Towson in straight sets in the first round in the spring before losing in five sets to Washington, falling short of its first trip to the third round.
Dayton earned a tournament berth by beating Fordham in straight sets in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship on Nov. 21. The Flyers had to survive an upset attempt by Duquesne, which won the first two sets in the semifinals before Dayton rallied to win the final three.
“I don’t know if we were overlooking that match,” Horsmon said, “or if we just weren’t ready to play that day, but Duquesne played a great match and was probably through most of that match the better team. It was great to slide out of that. We recovered a little bit the next day in the final. We’ve been kind of going through that all year. We’re still making some mistakes that if we’re going to be a really good team we can’t make. We’ve got figure that out. We left some some openings against Duquesne in that semifinal match you can’t leave in championship-type matches. I’m hoping we’re better this week.”