By: Kyle Isaacs
The inaugural season for the Xavier Musketeers in the newly formed Big East Conference has offered both glimpses of greatness coupled alongside inadequate performances.
Regardless of the sport, the Musketeers have yet to develop their identity thus far in the new conference, unlike their previous home in the Atlantic 10, which usually ended at the top of the podium as conference champions.
Despite the initial struggles, Xavier has a semester to turn things around and create a memorable first year in the Big East.
Beginning in the early weeks of the school year, the women’s volleyball team carried its previous years’ successes into the new season, starting the year off with a 7-2 record before heading to the University of California Irvine Invitational.
The Musketeers dropped three matches at the tournament, but responded with five victories in six conference games to right the ship. The women’s team finished its first year in the Big East with a 12-4 record, but was bounced from the Big East Championship in the first round.
As the winner of multiple A-10 titles in the past few years, the men’s soccer team looked to continue its run into the new conference.
The Musketeers struggled early in the season, losing their first three games. Xavier bounced back during the middle of the season, but once more looked to regain its form during the beginning of conference play.
Despite losing two of its first three Big East matches, the men’s team rolled through its October schedule, picking up eight wins, including six conference wins along the way (in addition to an upset over No. 4 Georgetown).
However, the Musketeers were unable to come away with another championship, falling to Butler in the opening round of the Big East Championship.
The women’s soccer team also had its sights set on a banner season, but was unable to hit its stride during the conference season.
The Musketeers entered Big East play with a 7-1-1 record, but fell victim to the conference schedule, dropping seven of nine along the way.
While a road win against Creighton to end the season is an accomplishment in itself, the women’s team definitely hoped for better results following its impressive opening stretch.
On the hardwood, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams experienced highs and lows in 2013. The men’s team remained unbeaten on the mainland, winning all six games not played in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Unfortunately, the three losses in the Bahamas were tough to swallow for the Musketeers, who struggled in the final two games after nearly upsetting Iowa University.
The women’s team had high moments, securing an overtime win in Ann Arbor, Mich. early in November.
However, the women also struggled to pick up wins away from Cincinnati, losing two of three in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The inaugural Big East season for the Musketeers has been peppered with highlights and rough patches.
Still, there is a full slate of games to be played and plenty of opportunities to excel in the new conference, so Xavier fans should remain patient. The success in the Big East will come, just like it did in our last conference.