Alex Smith recorded a .600 hitting percentage to aid in Xavier's victory over St. John's.
Oct. 6, 2013
CINCINNATI - Sunday afternoon was chock full of excitement for Xavier volleyball. The team emerged victorious over St. John's in four sets (25-11, 25-18, 32-34, 25-23). Aubree Smith and Abbey Bessler rounded off their weekends by putting out top-notch efforts for the third day in a row. Smith nearly had a triple-double, and Bessler had her team-leading 11th double-double of the season.
"I loved this match," said head coach Mike Johnson. "First, I was so impressed by St. John's effort. They showed a real resilience battling back and the third set had to be fun to watch for any volleyball fan. More importantly, though, I was impressed by our side. We had to dig deep and fight back against a team who really go hot. It was a gutsy win and I'm so proud of our effort."
The team took care of business in the first set in true Musketeer fashion, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and St. John's was never able to catch up. As a team, XU registered a .375 attack percentage, and rounded out the set with four-consecutive kills taking the first set, 25-11.
Each team was nipping at each other's heels throughout the third set with the largest lead by either team being three points. It was not until 23-22 that it looked promising for Xavier with a block from Alex Smith and Aubree Smith, but St. John's reciprocated right away with a kill from Mona Karkkainen. This trend continued all the way through until the set's last point. From this point until the end of the match at 34-32, both teams combined for 19 kills.
The Smith sisters, Alex and Aubree, combined for 11 kills in the third, but it was not enough for the win. St. John's Karin Palgutova answered to the sisters by putting down 11 of her own helping St. John's win the set.
With momentum on St. John's side after the thrilling third set, the fourth was yet close stanza. Xavier was able to pull a slight lead over St. John's at 16-12 that carried them until 24-18, but St. John's was able to rattle off five-consecutive points that brought the set to a 24-23 score. Xavier claimed the match point with a kill from Bessler out of the back row winning the set and match, 25-23.
Yet again, Aubree Smith nearly missed a triple double with 48 assists, 11 digs and 9 kills. Alex Smith was registered a .600 hitting percentage to go with her 14 kills. Bessler achieved another double-double making it her 11th of the season with 15 kills and 16 digs. Finally, the blocking duo of Agin and Blair put up eight blocks combined.
Xavier will play BIG EAST opponent, Butler, for the second time this season in its next match, Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in Cintas Center.