Xavier Eases Past Villanova, Secures BIG EAST Tourney Berth

Xavier took down Villanova thanks in part to a team-high nine kills from Alex Smith.

Xavier took down Villanova thanks in part to a team-high nine kills from Alex Smith.

Nov. 10, 2013

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PHILADELPHIA - Xavier volleyball secured a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament today with a sweep of Villanova (25-14, 25-17, 25-20). Five Musketeers registered at least seven kills in the match, led by Alex Smith's nine kills.

The Musketeers improved to 18-9 overall and 9-3 in the league, placing them in a tie for second with Creighton. Xavier now stands safely in front of five of the nine teams in the conference, earning a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament held in Omaha, Neb., from Nov. 29-30.

"Great team win tonight," said head coach Mike Johnson. "Our hitters brought an aggressive mindset into the match and our defense once again was sound. I'm really proud of the growth we have shown week to week. I feel like we are just starting to hit our stride."

After jumping out to a 10-3 lead in the opening set, Xavier cruised to a 25-14 win. The second set had a similar result, but following a slightly different script. XU trailed 15-10, but used a 10-1 run to grab control of the set on its way to a 25-17 win.

Tied at 17 in the third set, Xavier reeled off the next five points thanks to the duo of Alex Blair and Makayla Agin. Following a service error by the Wildcats, Blair and Agin combined for an assisted block. The next three points consisted of a kill by Blair, kill by Agin and another kill by Blair. XU closed out the set and match, 25-20.

Blair and Abbey Bessler chipped in eight kills apiece, while Agin and Aubree Smith added seven in the win. Aubree Smith orchestrated the balanced attack with 31 assists.

On the defensive side, Blair, Agin and Alex Smith each tallied four blocks and Sarah Brown picked up a match-high 15 digs.

Xavier will turn around and host Villanova this coming Friday in a noon match. The Musketeers will then close out their home portion of the schedule against Georgetown on Saturday at 4 p.m.