XU Falls In Five-Set Heartbreaker, Earns A-10 Runner-Up
Nov. 18, 2012
CINCINNATI - Xavier (20-11) dropped a five-set heartbreaker to top-seed and 12th-ranked Dayton (26-5) to earn its third-straight runner-up finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships. Alex Blair, Sarah Brown and Aubree Smith were named to the all-tourney team in a ceremony following the match.
"First of all, congratulations to Dayton," said head coach Mike Johnson. "They are a good team and played well with their backs against the wall. I was proud of our effort tonight and all season long. This is a special group of people. We came into the match as a team and we'll leave it that way. I'm sorry for our seniors that we weren't able to get it done. This loss does not define them. They are championship people and I'll remember them as such."
The opening set featured runs by both teams, with Xavier opening a 10-4 lead and Dayton charging back to a 15-14 advantage. XU staved off several match points before a Smith kill and an attack error by UD gave X the set, 28-26.
Trailing 15-11 headed into the media timeout, the Musketeers responded with a 7-2 run to force a UD timeout. In fact, XU closed out the set with a 14-4 run following the timeout. The 25-19 win in the second set sent Xavier into intermission with a 2-0 lead in the match.
XU quickly found itself in a 5-1 hole in the third set and was never able to fully recover. The Flyers closed out the set, 25-16, and cut Xavier's lead in the match to 2-1. The fourth set followed a similar path. Xavier went down 3-0 early, recovered to force a Dayton timeout at 15-9 and eventually dropped the set, 25-14.
A spirited group of Musketeers opened the fifth set by winning the first two points. With Xavier leading, 3-2, Dayton used seven-straight points to take control of the game and went on to win the A-10 Championship with a 15-7 victory in set five.
Brown finished the match with 12 kills and 25 digs. In XU's two matches, the junior outside hitter combined for 20 kills and 31 digs. Blair had 10 kills and six blocks against the Flyers en route to 19 kills and 13 blocks for the Championship. Aubree Smith paced a balanced Xavier attack, finishing with 40 assists, 11 digs and six kills in the finals and 73 assists and 18 digs during the tournament.
Xavier will close at its season with a match at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 24 against Ball State in Muncie, Ind.
Atlantic 10 Championship All-Tournament Team