Musketeers Advance to A-10 Finals After Downing SLU 3-1
DAYTON, Ohio -For the second year in a row, the Xavier volleyball team will face Dayton in the finals of the Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship. Similar to last year, the Musketeers had to make it past the Saint Louis Bilikens. XU defeated SLU, 3-1 (25-23, 26-24, 25-18, 25-23) and were led by outstanding performances.
With the win the Musketeers improve to 20-10 overall, which marks the 19th season Xavier has notched 20 wins. Saint Louis falls to 15-12 on the 2011 campaign.
"I am really proud of our effort tonight," said head coach Mike Johnson. "We knew SLU was going to push us and they had the capability to go on big runs. When they are hot they are just as good as anybody. I'm really proud of our how team stuck together especially when SLU went on a late run. My coaching staff made some great adjustments that our team was able to react well to."
Sophomore Sarah Brown led the match in kills and digs and notched her sixth double-double of the season. The 2011 First-Team All-Conference member had 19 kills to go with her 17 digs and two assisted blocks. Fellow First-Teamer Alex Smith had 11 kills off of a team-best .429 clip. Smith helped on five assisted blocks as well.
2011 A-10 Rookie of the Year Aubree Smith had her fourth-career double-double with a match-high 44 assists and 12 digs. Smith also had four assisted blocks, the most important of which sealed the match for the Musketeers. Three-time A-10 Libero of the Year Stephanie Vorherr provided leadership on the floor and passed 16 digs to go with five assists.
There were several hussle plays that were not reflected in the stat sheet, one of which was a diving dig by junior Kaela Jo Freppon to keep the rally alive in the first frame and give Xavier the late 22-20 lead. An ace by sophomore Kelsey Dunaway would seal the first set for the Musketeers.
The Musketeers went on a run in the second set to lead 19-11, but the Billikens were able to battle back and take the set. After intermission the Musketeers came out and utilized kills from Dunaway and Brown. XU was able to seal the match off of a block by Alex and Aubree Smith.
The Billikens were led by Alyssa Deno, Andrea Beaty and Ashley Gaillot who had 13, 12 and 11 kills respectively.
Xavier's trip to the A-10 finals is the first back-to-back trip since the Musketeers went in 2000 and 2001.
The Musketeers will meet the Flyers at 3 p.m. at the Frericks Center on the campus of the University of Dayton. Live web streaming is available at the Atlantic 10 website. Stay tuned to GoXavier.com for more information on Xavier volleyball.