By: Brent Raines ~Guest Writer~
The Xavier volleyball team continued its solid season, going 3-1 in a recent four-match road trip to face conference rivals Seton Hall, Villanova, DePaul and Marquette.
The strong road trip puts the Musketeers fifth in the Big East with an 8-5 conference record (15-10 overall).
The road trip started on Oct. 24 for a rematch with the then-first place Seton Hall Pirates (8-2).
After losing 3-1 on Oct. 4, Xavier found itself down 12-9 in the fifth and final set before redshirt senior Alex Blair capped off an 8-3 rally with a exciting match-winning kill.
Sophomore Abbey Bessler led all players with 23 kills, while Blair led the Musketeers with six blocks.
The next night, the Musketeers travelled to Philadelphia for a rematch against the 4-7 Villanova Wildcats.
The Muskies cruised to a 3-0 victory at home on Oct. 4 and had no problem doing the same on the road. Xavier finished with a .414 hitting percentage, a season-high, and only faced a serious threat in the second set, which they took three of the final four points to win 25-23.
Bessler once again led the match with 11 kills, and redshirt sophomore Sofia Peterson hit .667 and added seven kills.
A trip to Chicago on Halloween began the second-half of the road trip as Xavier pulled out a 3-1 victory over DePaul.
The Blue Demons, who entered the match with a 1-10 conference record good for ninth in the 10-team Big East, lost to Xavier in Cintas Center on Oct. 14 by the same score.
They needed an 8-of-11 rally to avoid being swept in three sets on their home floor.
Freshman Kristen Massa led the Musketeers with a career-high 14 kills while senior Aubree Smith dished out 53 assists to lead all players
After a short bus ride up I-94 the Marquette Golden Eagles (10-3) swept the Muskies in three sets to put a sour end on the Musketeers’ road trip.
Beating the Musketeers for the second time this season (3-1 on Oct. 8), the second-place Golden Eagles were only seriously challenged in the second set in which they withstood a 7-0 Xavier rally to hold on to a 25-22 victory.
Bessler once again led the team with 12 kills, while freshman Jessie Earl contributed 19 digs.
On Nov. 3, Earl was honored by being named Big East Freshman of the Week.
The Musketeers return home Nov. 7 for a game at 7 p.m. against the Creighton Bluejays (11-1) at Cintas. Xavier was swept in three sets at first-placed Creighton on Sept. 28.