In Five-Set Thriller, Musketeers Suffer Heart-Breaking Loss to Irish

Alex Smith had a season-high 15 kills against the Irish on Friday night.
 
Alex Smith had a season-high 15 kills against the Irish on Friday night.
 

Sept. 14, 2012

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - After forcing the match to a decisive-fifth set, Xavier lost to host Notre Dame (25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 28-30, 15-6) in its opening match of the Golden Dome Invitational. Xavier was led by junior outside hitter Sarah Brown, who recorded 17 kills and 26 digs against the Irish.

Despite holding a 12-11 lead midway through the first set, Xavier (7-5) dropped the game, 25-19, to Notre Dame (6-4). With the Musketeers holding the slim one-point margin, an 8-3 surge by the Fighting Irish provided the momentum that ND used to take the set.

The Musketeers looked to rebound in the second set and jumped out to an 8-4 advantage, but Notre Dame came marching back to tie the set at nine. Xavier struck with an 11-5 run to the set with a 7-point win, 25-18, knotting the match at one-game apiece.

The Fighting Irish came out of the intermission on a roll, reeling off a 10-4 run. Xavier whittled Notre Dame's advantage to two on two-separate occasions. However, the early deficit proved too much to overcome and XU dropped the set, 25-18.

Xavier was put on its heels early in the fourth set as Notre Dame built a seven-point margin. A gritty Musketeer squad showed its resolve and determination by tying the game at both 18 and then 24. XU staved off five match-points from ND before winning the set, 30-28, and forcing a decisive-fifth game.

On its home court, the Irish grabbed all the momentum in the final set took an 8-4 lead as the teams switched sides. Xavier was unable to mount a come-back and lost the set, 15-6.

"I thought we showed a lot of heart in the 4th set," said Xavier head coach Mike Johnson. "This was a tough fight to lose, but we have shown improvement every week and we'll continue to get better."

Redshirt junior middle blocker Alex Smith joined Brown in double-digits with a season-high 15 kills, while posting a hitting percentage of .359. Sophomore setter Aubree Smith handed out a season-high 48 assists, which is the 13th time in her career that she eclipsed the 40-assist plateau.

After making the switch to middle blocker just over a week ago, freshman Makayla Agin notched a career-high eight kills. Senior libero Stephanie Vorherr added 24 digs to her career record. She now has 1,793 digs in her four years at Xavier.

Xavier has an early-morning match on Saturday against Kansas in the Golden Dome Invitational. The match is slated for a 10:30 a.m. start. Kansas opened tournament play against Loyola Marymount with a four-set victory.

 

 

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