Women’s volleyball struggles in California

By: Robert Jamieson

Xavier women’s volleyball left California this past weekend with a sour taste in its mouth after going 0-3 in the UC Irvine Invite.

What might taste worse, however, was the two five-set matches that did not go Xavier’s way in the last two matches of the tournament, in which the Musketeers failed to hold 2-0 set leads in both matches.

Xavier opened the tournament against the Bulldogs of Fresno State (25-22, 25-23, 25-13).

As the first two set scores show, this match was closer than the box score indicates.

Slow starts in each set, however, proved to be too difficult to overcome in the end. Senior middle blocker Alex Blair recorded a season high 11 kills in the loss.

Not even a near triple-double from junior setter Aubree Smith was enough to will the Musketeers past UC Irvine in the second match of the invite, in which Xavier dropped another tough five set loss (21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 18-16).

Smith tallied up a career high 11 kills to go along with her 36 assists and nine digs.

After Xavier took the first two sets led by the offensive attack of Blair and sophomore outside hitter Makayla Agin the third and fourth sets did not fall Xavier’s way.

The fifth set was extremely close but the two match points that Xavier was unable to convert proved to be too costly to overcome.

The final match of the tournament produced a similar result against a tough American University squad.

Even after a great match from senior outside hitter Sarah Brown, who recorded a double-double with 17 digs and a season high 18 kills, Xavier fell to American (23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19, 16-14).

As was the case against UC Irvine, Xavier saw a 2-0 set lead dwindle after not being able to take either of the closely contested third and fourth sets.

Even more troubling and eerily similar to the previous match, Xavier again was unable to convert a match point and again fell in extra points in the fifth.

While it was a tough weekend for Xavier volleyball it still came with some highlights.

Senior middle blocker Alex Smith recorded her 1,000th career kill in the American match as she continues to add her name to the record books at Xavier.

The Musketeers look to rebound Friday at Butler.