Xavier Defeats SEMO Behind Bessler's 23 Kills

Junior setter Aubree Smith dished out an incredible 59 assists.

Junior setter Aubree Smith dished out an incredible 59 assists.

Sept. 13, 2013

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Southeast Missouri State (4-3) pushed Xavier (6-2) for the first three sets, but the Musketeers used a dominating performance in the fourth set to put away the Redhawks, 3-1, in the opening match of the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic hosted by Ohio State.

Freshman Abbey Bessler drove home 23 kills in the match to set a new career-high, eclipsing the 16 kills she had against Duquesne last weekend. She also posted 10 digs in the match for her third double-double of the season.

Bessler was aided by junior Aubree Smith, who divvied out 59 assists and dug 10 attacks. Senior Sarah Brown also recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 19 digs against a feisty Redhawks squad.

Xavier was pushed to extra-points in the opening frame. Trailing 25-24, Bessler tallied consecutive points on a kill and ace to push Xavier in front. An attack error by SEMO gave XU the first set, 27-25.

The second set followed a similar script with the Musketeers trailing, 20-19. Back-to-back kills from Brown were followed by an ace from Alex Blair and Xavier won six of the final seven points to claim the set, 25-21, and take a 2-0 lead.

SEMO came out of the intermission as a determined group and forced Xavier to take timeouts trailing, 15-12, and, 22-19. The Redhawks closed the set, 25-20, to force game four.

Dropping the third set sparked the Musketeers in the final frame. Xavier built a 7-3 lead early and continued to put the pressure on SEMO. The Musketeers went ahead by as many as 14 points, before closing the set and match, 25-12.

Xavier will face IUPUI at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning before a showdown with the 13th-ranked Buckeyes at 7 p.m.