Volleyball Hosts Queen City Invitational to Open 2014 Season

Head coach Mike Johnson enters his fifth season at Xavier.

Head coach Mike Johnson enters his fifth season at Xavier.

Aug. 28, 2014

Tournament Schedule 
Friday, Aug. 29 - vs UC Irvine | 7 p.m. | Gametracker
Saturday, Aug. 30 - vs Duquesne | 12 p.m. | Gametracker
Saturday, Aug. 30 - vs Cincinnati | 6 p.m. | Gametracker | Watch Live

Match Notes (PDF)

Xavier volleyball opens the 2014 season on Aug. 29-30 as they play host to the Queen City Invitational. The Musketeers open tournament action on Friday, Aug. 29 against UC Irvine at 7 p.m.

Tournament action resumes on Saturday, Aug. 30 as XU plays Duquesne at noon followed by crosstown rival Cincinnati at 6 p.m. Students attending the matches on Friday and Saturday night will get a free `point Xavier' poster to keep and use throughout the season.

Coach Johnson success
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Mike Johnson, the Musketeers have won at least 20 matches each year and have finished no worse than second in the final conference standings. He has had the AVCA All-America Honorable Mention award given to players on his teams six times - including three players during the 2013 season. It marked the first time in school history that multiple players earned the award in the same season.

First to play on the new Cintas Center court
The volleyball squad will be the first Xavier team to break in the refurbished court in Cintas Center that has a new look. The most recognizable feature of the new court will be the skyline of the city of Cincinnati.

Xavier tabbed third in preseason BIG EAST poll
Xavier was tabbed to finish third in the preseason BIG EAST poll as voted on by conference head coaches. The Musketeers earned one first-place vote in the poll following an inaugural BIG EAST season that saw the squad finish tied for second place in the final standings.

Three players earn preseason All-BIG EAST honors
Abbey Bessler, Alex Blair and Aubree Smith all earned preseason All-BIG EAST honors as voted on by conference head coaches.

- Bessler, a 2013 BIG EAST First Team honoree and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Team member, returns after a freshman campaign that saw her lead the team in kills (454).

- Blair, a 2013 All-BIG EAST Second Team selection, returns for her senior season after leading the team in total blocks (157) - the third highest total in the conference.

- Smith also returns for her final year after ranking second in the conference in assists per game (10.83 apg). The setter also earned 2013 BIG EAST First Team honors and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Team honors.

Musketeers welcome a top-25 recruiting class
The volleyball squad has six true freshmen for the upcoming season, a recruiting class that was ranked 22nd nationally by PrepVolleyball.com. The class includes Kristen Massa, Jesse Earl, Lauren Frilling, Marjolijn Oskam, Meredith Klare and Samantha Foti. It is the highest-ranked incoming class in program history.

Career record watch: Aubree Smith
Smith currently ranks sixth in XU career history in attack percentage (.300) and fifth in assists (3,665). The senior setter has played in 96 matches and a total of 354 sets during her career.

Additional weekend notes
- XU volleyball has won 20 or more matches in five consecutive seasons, the longest stretch of consecutive 20-win seasons in school history.

- XU volleyball is 19-12 in season openers since the 1983 season (first year at Division I). Head coach Mike Johnson is 2-2 in season openers during his tenure and is 3-1 in home openers.

- XU volleyball has a 35-10 home record under the direction of head coach Mike Johnson. He posted an undefeated 9-0 mark at home during the 2011 season.

- XU volleyball will host two tournaments this season beginning with the Queen City Invitational on Aug. 29-30. The Musketeers will host the Millennium Hotel Invitational on Sept. 12-13 and play in-state foes Ohio and Ohio State in addition to Syracuse.

- XU is 1-1 all-time against UC Irvine. The Musketeers are also 10-21 against Cincinnati and 32-5 versus Duquesne.

Up next
The Musketeers hit the road next weekend as they travel to the MIZZOU Tiger Invitational. XU opens tournament action against Oakland on Friday, Sept. 5 at 5 p.m. before playing two matches on Saturday versus Illinois State (1 p.m.) and host Missouri (7:30 p.m.).