Xavier Rallies For Thrilling Victory Over Butler

Abbey Bessler had a match-high 22 kills against Butler.

Abbey Bessler had a match-high 22 kills against Butler.

Oct. 11, 2013

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CINCINNATI - In an exciting five-set match, Xavier downed Butler (25-22, 26-28, 13-25, 25-27,15-9) for the second time this season. The win improves the Musketeers to 11-7 overall and 4-1 in the BIG EAST, while the Bulldogs drop to 16-4, 3-2 BIG EAST.

"What a match!" said head coach Mike Johnson. "Butler's effort was tremendous. But so was our resilience. We showed the hallmarks of what all great athletes do - we kept our composure amid chaos, formed a plan when hope seemed lost, and had the guts to carry it out. We can play technically better. And we will. But our toughness and grit was off the charts."

Led by seven kills from Abbey Bessler, XU picked up a win in the opening set, 25-22. Trailing 14-15 midway through the set, XU put together a four-point run thanks to a pair of kills from Bessler and two attack errors from BU.

Xavier took an early three-point margin in the second set, but wasn't able to pull away. Butler tied the frame at 10 and from that point on there were 14 ties in the set. The Musketeers took a 25-24 lead, but the Bulldogs answered by winning four of the next five points to win the stanza, 28-26.

Butler took control early in the third set and established a 12-5 lead. Xavier put together six-straight points to get back in the match, but then surrendered seven-unanswered to the Bulldogs. BU later used a 5-0 run to close the set, 25-13.

It appeared Butler was going to close out Xavier in the fourth set, as the Bulldogs took a 22-20 lead and seemingly had all the momentum. But, a resilient Xavier crew fought back to even the set at 24. Stephanie Kranda gave BU a brief lead before XU went on a three-point spurt to close the set, 27-25.

The fifth game was all Musketeers from the onset. Xavier built a 7-2 lead to force a Butler timeout and then scored the next point to lead 8-2 at the side change. Consecutive attack errors by the Bulldogs gave the Musketeers a comfortable cushion at 11-3. Makayla Agin's kill at match point closed the set and match, 15-9.

Bessler finished with a match-high 22 kills and 10 digs for her team-leading 12th double-double, which is also her seventh-straight. Alex Smith was the second Musketeer to reach double-digit kills. She finished with 12 kills to go along with a career-high 12 digs.

Sarah Brown posted a career-best 30 digs, topping her previous high of 29 against Dayton in 2011. Agin finished the match with seven kills.

Sariah Suryadevara also had a career night, setting a new personal mark of 22 digs. For the third match in a row, Aubree Smith just missed out on a triple-double. She handed out 45 assists, with 16 digs and eight kills.

This marks the second and final time the two teams will meet in regular-season conference action and Xavier took both matches. XU put together a four-set win just two weeks ago at Butler. This win also pushes Xavier one game ahead in the conference standings and gives the Musketeers the tie-breaker over Butler.

Xavier will close its five-match home stand against Morehead State on Tuesday, Oct. 15. The match is slated for a 5 p.m. start.