Duchek and Skrajewski Solid in XU Win
Nov. 6, 2005
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Senior Kate Duchek returned home to post a team-high 18 kills en route to Xavier's victory over host Saint Louis on Sunday afternoon in Atlantic 10 action. The Musketeers posted scores of 32-30, 24-30, 30-17 and 30-24 to take the match in four games. XU improves to 18-10 on the season and now stands at 10-3 in the A-10, while SLU drops to 13-15 and 5-6 in conference play.
The opening game found the fans getting a little extra action for their money as extra points were needed to determine a winner. Xavier jumped out to the early lead but Saint Louis would answer and tie the score twice before taking its first lead of the contest at 3-2. The Billikens would control most of the opening stanza before XU finally restored parity at 22-22 and took the lead on the following point. SLU would regain the lead again at the 27-26 mark but the Musketeers would hold strong and take the lead for good with the score 29-28. Kate Duchek's homecoming started off well as the senior ended the first game with six kills and a dig, while classmate Jordan Brightwell added four digs. Freshman setter Jenn Welsh got off to a big start dishing out 17 assists and helped Xavier pound out 18 kills in the stanza.
SLU rebounded in the second game and let throughout with Xavier only tying the score twice in the early stages. With the score 22-17 in favor of the Billikens, an XU timeout would spark a quick 4-0 run by the Musketeers allowed the visitors to pull within one at 22-21 but that would be as close as they would get. A timeout by Saint Louis would squash the rally and find the Billikens score eight of the final 11 points to take the second game to even the match. Astyn Bjorklund would lead the way with five kills on the game, while Brightwell notched seven more digs.
The third game was a back and forth struggle in the opening before XU came alive. A 10-2 run by the Musketeers would push the Xavier advantage to ten at 16-6. Back to back aces by Carley Horvath would increase the visitor's lead to 12 points and make the score 20-8 before XU would open its largest lead of the game at 13 points after a kill by Bjorklund. The lead would stay at 13 after a kill by Jill Quayle ended the game and gave Xavier the 2-1 advantage in the match. Duchek and Bjorklund each had four kills on the game, while Danielle Skrajewski chipped in six digs.
Xavier's other St. Louis native, Lauren Kowal, provided a huge spark off the bench in the fourth and final game. She helped XU mount an 11-3 run and push the Musketeer advantage to 14-7. SLU would respond with a 10-4 run of its own and cut the Xavier lead to just one with the score 20-19. Points would be exchanged back and forth for the rest of the duration with a kill by Kowal ending the match. The sophomore ended with four kills in the game on six swings for a .667 hitting percentage.
Duchek ended with a team-high 18 kills. The senior also finished with a .286 hitting percentage and six digs. Skrajewski tallied her ninth double-double in the last 10 matches and now has 13 this season and 34 in her career. The junior ended the afternoon with 13 kills and 13 digs to go along with a .355 hitting percentage. Brightwell led a solid Xavier back row with a match-high 15 digs in the contest, while Horvath ended with a match-high four aces. Welsh finished with 58 assists and added nine digs. Bjorklund was the final Musketeer with double-digit kills as the junior ended with 11 kills, a .292 attack percentage and seven block assists.
Xavier will return to action on Tuesday, November 8, as the Musketeers travel to Wright State for the final match before the A-10 Tournament. XU will take on the Raiders starting at 7:00 pm at the C.J. McLin Gymnasium.