Smith's Career-High Kills Not Enough; Xavier Falls At Temple

With a career-high 20 kills and zero errors, Alex Smith recorded a .571 hitting percentage.
 
With a career-high 20 kills and zero errors, Alex Smith recorded a .571 hitting percentage.
 

Sept. 28, 2012

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PHILADELPHIA - Xavier held significant advantages in nearly every major statistical category, but was unable to capitalize in a five-set loss (25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 14-25, 15-11) to Temple. Xavier falls to 9-8 on the season and 2-1 in the Atlantic 10, while Temple moves to 13-4 and 3-0 in conference play.

A career-high 20 kills from Alex Smith led a Musketeer attack the held a 70-49 advantage in kills. Xavier also had more digs (93-86) and blocks (11.5-5), but the serving game and attack errors at crucial times in the match hurt XU.

"Every now and then you see a night like tonight," said head coach Mike Johnson. "We won in nearly every statistical category except the score. We can do a better job of handling the ball and will. Credit to Temple. They played well."

The Musketeers dropped the first set, 25-22, despite a 17-9 margin in kills. Four reception errors and four service errors allowed the Owls to hang around. Temple came away with points on two long rallies near the end of the set, helping TU to the final margin.

Xavier held a 14-11 lead in set two, but surrendered six-straight points to Temple. The Musketeers regrouped, putting up a 6-1 run to regain the lead and a 5-2 spurt to close out the set, 25-20.

The Musketeers' middle blockers were dominant in the first two sets. Smith, a redshirt junior, accumulated 12 kills on 16 attempts without registering an error, while freshman Makayla Agin was a perfect 3-for-3 on her attacks. The two middle blockers combined to hit .789 (15-0-19) and they each posted four blocks prior to intermission.

Despite taking the first two points coming out of the break, Xavier struggled to find its rhythm and gave up a 10-2 run to Temple. The Owls expanded their lead to as many as eight on four different occasions, including the final margin, 25-17.

Trailing 2-1 entering the fourth set, Xavier found itself in a must win situation. The Musketeers opened with four-consecutive points en route to building an early 10-3 lead and forcing an Owl timeout. Xavier pushed the margin to 11 points, winning the set, 25-14, and forcing a fifth game.

After opening the decisive fifth set with a 5-2 lead, Xavier allowed Temple to run off five-unanswered points and was forced to take a timeout. Xavier tied the score at seven coming out of the timeout, but a 5-2 spurt from Temple is all the Owls needed. Temple went on to defeat the Musketeers, 15-11.

Smith notched her 20 kills on 35 attempts for a .571 attack percentage. What is most impressive about the performance is that she did not have a single error in the five-set match. She also finished with six blocks, tying her season-high set against Saint Louis last Friday.

Several other Musketeers recorded significant individual performances. Aubree Smith handed out a season-high 57 assists, a total that stands just three shy of her career high set last November against Dayton. Aubree Smith also registered a season-high 19 digs.

With a match-high tying 28 digs, Stephanie Vorherr joined Aubree Smith as one of four Musketeers to register double-digit digs. Kelly Westerkamp posted a career-high 14 digs and Amé White ended the match with 10.

Kelsey Dunaway was second on the team with 15 kills and Sarah Brown reach the double-digit plateau for the ninth-straight match with 12 kills.

Agin finished with nine kills on 15 attacks, with only one error and an attack percentage of .533. She also tied her career-high for blocks, five, which was set against Loyola Marymount earlier this season.

Gabriella Matautia recorded a team-high 18 kills for Temple and Elyse Burkert posted 16 kills. Chelsea Tupuola led the Owls with a match-high-tying 28 digs.

Xavier will play La Salle Saturday afternoon in a 1 p.m. match at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia. The Explorers enter the match with a 3-15 record, including 0-3 in the A-10.

 

 

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