Golden Eagles Take Down Musketeers In Four Sets

Junior setter Aubree Smith was terrific against Marquette, narrowly missing a triple-double.

Junior setter Aubree Smith was terrific against Marquette, narrowly missing a triple-double.

Nov. 2, 2013

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CINCINNATI - In an exciting BIG EAST Conference match at Cintas Center, Xavier dropped a four-set decision to Marquette (21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21). The Musketeers (16-9, 7-3 BIG EAST) are still in second place in the conference, but trail the Golden Eagles (17-5, 9-1 BIG EAST) by two matches in the standings.

"This one was certainly tough," said head coach Mike Johnson. "It hurts to lay it on the line and come up short. But, I'm proud of our team for the way we continue to invest. I admire our group and the way that we continue to get better as the season progresses. We'll get back to work next week and be ready to roll next Friday night."

Xavier scored the first point of the match and never trailed in the opening frame en route to a 25-21 win. The Musketeers put down 17 kills with only two miscues. Xavier closed the set with back-to-back kills by Sarah Brown and Abbey Bessler.

The second set was a close affair throughout, with neither team leading by more than two points at any moment in the stanza. With the score tied at 22, MU's Nele Barber connected on consecutive kills to grab a two-point advantage. Following a kill by Bessler, Barber put down another kill to finish the set, 25-23.

Marquette used a four-point spurt with the third set tied at 12 to pull ahead for good. The Golden Eagles pushed the margin to as many as seven points before closing the frame, 25-18.

An inspired Xavier team came out in the fourth, building leads of 10-7 and 14-11. But after the Musketeers established each lead, Marquette responded. The Golden Eagles used consecutive points with the set even at 19 to grab the momentum before closing the set and match, 25-21.

Xavier was led by Aubree Smith and Bessler. Smith finished with 46 assists, 22 digs and nine kills, while Bessler tallied 15 kills and 13 digs. Brown joined Smith and Bessler with a double-double of her own, registering 12 kills and 23 digs.

Alex Blair continued her strong defensive presence, collecting six blocks in the match. Blair also put down 11 kills.

Xavier will take to the road for a pair of matches against Georgetown and Villanova next weekend. XU and GU will serve it up at 4 p.m. on Nov. 8.