By: Ryan O’Toole ~Staff Writer~
Xavier women’s volleyball is ready to get things started. After a disappointing loss to Creighton in the Big East championship, the team is looking toward an even better 2014 season.
Xavier was picked to finish third in the Big East by conference head coaches in the preseason poll, with three of their players making the All-Big East preseason team: sophomore Abbey Bessler and seniors Aubree Smith and Alex Blair.
Bessler lead the team in kills as a freshman last season with 454 and was a 2013 Big East first team honoree. She wowed the league with her athleticism and ferocity on the court.
Her experience should only help her toward progressing as a player and team leader. Smith, an excellent setter and teammate, lead the team in assists with 10.83 per game. She returns for her senior year as the team will look to her for veteran leadership. Blair, another senior, had 157 blocks in 2013 and looks to bring the intensity and strong defensive mentality to a team that depended on defense a year ago.
Creighton and Marquette are the only two teams ahead of Xavier in the preseason ranks.However, Xavier knows that wins and losses are not decided by what happens prior to the season.
The team must let its talking be done on the court. With fifth-year coach Mike Johnson and several strong seniors leading the way, the ladies of X look to make the next step forward this year.
The pieces are all there; it is now up to the team to deliver a winning season. No matter what happens, this proves to be a very exciting year. Xavier opens against UC Irvine on Aug. 29 in the Queen City Classic.