Volleyball Drops Heartbreaker To George Washington In A-10 Final
DAYTON --- The Xavier volleyball team fought their hearts out in the Atlantic 10 title match, but came up short. Top-seeded George Washington defeated Xavier in five games (15-8, 15-6, 5-15, 10-15, 20-18).
GW captured the early advantage, winning games one and two handily, 15-8, 15-6. During that time, Xavier could muster only a .077 hitting percentage. But a comeback was in the works.
Head Coach Floyd Deaton guided Xavier to a remarkable turnaround as the Musketeers jumped out to an 11-1 lead in game Weekly Sports Update, three and never looked back. Junior Amanda Lang (Cincinnati, OH/Seton) provided a much-needed spark, banging out five kills in the game. Freshman Kimberly Cockerel (Louisville, KY/Assumption) added six blocks to light the Xavier defensive fire. The Musketeers continued the surge in game four, taking a 7-0 lead right out of the gate. They rallied all the way to a 11-3 lead when GW called a timeout in an attempt to turn the tide. But the Musketeers would not be denied. Lang put the game away with a kill down the left sideline. Xavier took game four 15-10.
Game five was a roller coaster ride for both teams. After several lead changes, XU gained its biggest lead at 8-6 after a Jill Hampton (Ft. Mitchell, KY/Notre Dame Academy) kill. After that, the two teams traded points all the way to 18-18, before GW finished them off for the 20-18 victory.
Hampton and junior Sara Bachus (Cincinnati, OH/Seton) each set new career-highs in the digs category with 31 and 27, respectively. Senior Tami Ores (Pontiac, IL/Pontiac Township) tied a season-high with 70 assists. All three players were named to the All-Championship team. All of this came after an exciting two days for the volleyballers.
Saturday, the Musketeers handed Temple its first A-10 Tournament loss in four years. In the teams' third meeting of the season, Xavier put together what may have been its best performance of the year. Game scores were 15-10, 13-15, 15-11, 15-2. Four Musketeers tallied double-doubles in the win. Sophomore Katey Wygant (Papillion, NE/Papillion La Vista) and senior Gina Geraci (Edgewood, KY/Notre Dame Academy) both established career-highs in kills with 18 and 16, respectively. After fighting their way to a 2-1 game lead, the Musketeers left no doubts about game four. They jumped out to a 12-1 lead, behind Wygant's four kills and four blocks. Cockerel blocked an Alma Kovaci attack to give XU the 15-2 win.
Friday night junior Sara Bachus was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. The Cincinnati native becomes just the second Xavier athlete to be named Player of the Year in any sport since XU joined the conference in 1995. Bachus finished the season with a .368 hitting percentage, tops in the A-10. No player has recorded a percentage above .350 in the Atlantic 10 since 1996. She recorded her 1,000th career kill this season, becoming just the fourth player in XU history to reach the milestone as a junior, and the tenth overall.
Jill Hampton was also named All-Conference. Hampton currently has 997 career kills. She led the team and was second in the A-10 with 3.83 digs per game this season. Her 410 kills were second on the team. Hampton took 1,225 swings this season, good for fifth on the XU single-season record list.
Freshman Kimberly Cockerel was named to the first annual A-10 All-Rookie Team. The Louisville, Ky. native was second on the team with a .276 hitting percentage and she led the team with 1.04 blocks per game.
The Musketeers still have a chance to get an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. Selection Sunday is November 26.