Xavier Wins Atlantic 10 Opener, 3-1, Over Saint Louis

Dunaway put down 11 kills against the Billikens.

Dunaway put down 11 kills against the Billikens.

Sept. 21, 2012

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CINCINNATI - After dropping the first game, the Xavier volleyball team won three-straight sets to open play in the Atlantic 10 with a win over Saint Louis (15-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15) on Friday night. Sarah Brown, 14 kills and 17 digs, and Aubree Smith, 33 assists and 17 digs, each posted double-doubles for the Musketeers.

Xavier (8-7, 1-0 A-10) hit a rough patch in the opening set and Saint Louis (5-9, 0-1 A-10) capitalized with six-unanswered points to take control of the game. The Billikens went on to win the set, 25-10. XU only managed eight kills and a .026 hitting percentage, while SLU hit.290 and registered 12 kills.

Head coach Mike Johnson and the coaching staff made some adjustments between sets and the results were evident. Xavier built as much as a six-point margin on three-different occasions before winning the game, 25-20. With 12 kills and an attack percentage of .214, XU was much more efficient in the set.

Coming out of intermission, the Musketeers further increased their intensity and built an early six-point lead. XU withstood a pair of small runs from SLU and firmly grabbed ahold of the match with a 4-1 run to finish the set, 25-18, and take all the momentum into game four.

Five kills by Brown and two hitting errors by the Billikens in the early moments of the fourth set helped Xavier stake an 8-3 lead and forced Saint Louis to take a timeout. The Musketeers responded with a 4-1 run out of the timeout and rolled to a 25-15 win in the set.

Kelsey Dunaway chipped in 11 kills behind a hitting percentage of .269. Elizabeth Lucich came off the bench to post nine digs. Stephanie Vorherr finished the match with 14 digs, while Kaleigh Rougraff also notched double-digit digs with 10.

Xavier was tough at the net, registering a total of 13 team blocks. Aubree Smith led the way with a game-high seven blocks and Alex Smith added six for the Musketeers. Alex Smith also notched eight kills and a hitting percentage of .368 in the match.

"I thought we showed a lot of resiliency tonight," said head coach Johnson. "Saint Louis is a good team and I expect them to do good things in the league this year. Liz Lucich provided a nice spark. Our outside hitters [Brown and Dunaway] both had a great night and Aubree Smith did a great job distributing the ball. I was also proud of the way our middles blocked tonight. They created a presence that changed the feel of the match."

Lauren Baumet led the Billikens with 12 kills and Lindsey Dinkelacker added 10. Saint Louis also had four players record double-digit digs: Grace Bonoma (25), Andrea Bolt (16), Cassie Clark (11) and Anna Church (11).

Xavier is back in action Saturday afternoon when Butler makes its first trip to Cintas Center as a member of the A-10. The match is slated for a 3 p.m. start and live stats will be available on GoXavier.com.