Volleyball team starts Big East play strong

By: Kyle Tooley ~Guest Writer~

Volleyball 1
Newswire photo by Thomas vonAhlefeld | Xavier celebrates its nail-biting victory over St. John’s. Xavier is the only Big East team that is 3-0 in conference play.

After finishing the majority of non-conference play with a 4-6 record, Xavier volleyball was looking for a boost to start off conference play, and the Musketeers found it. The team beat Marquette, Providence and St. John’s this past week, pushing it into first place in the conference. The Marquette game on Sept. 23 was a clean sweep, as the Musketeers won in three sets, 25-23, 25-16 and 25-19. Junior Abbey Bessler led the way with 16 kills, followed by sophomore Kristen Massa with 12.

The team then came home to face a strong Providence team on Sept. 25, again coming away with the sweep. The Musketeers won 25-23, 25-13 and 25-11. It was complete domination over the Friars, as Bessler and senior Makayla Agin led the way with 12 and eight kills, respectively. Though the St. John’s match was the closest of the three, it saw one of the greatest individual performances in the history of Xavier Volleyball.

Newswire photo by Thomas vonAhlefeld | Bessler, from Hebron, Kent., was academic all-conference two seasons ago.

Xavier won 3-2, as Abbey Bessler posted a school-record 33 kills in the performance. Even with Bessler’s outstanding performance, Xavier only escaped Cintas Center with a narrow win, actually scoring fewer total points than the Red Storm. Nonetheless, the win vaulted the Musketeers to a 7-6 record and a 3-0 Big East tally. With impressive performances against all three opponents, most notably against St. John’s, Bessler was awarded the Big East Player of the Week award. It is the first time that a Xavier player has earned the award since Nov. 2013.

This honor came one week after the junior passed the 1,000-career kill mark at Xavier, a feat that does not come easily. The Musketeers will travel to Chicago on Wednesday to face the Blue Demons of DePaul, who have started out the season strong. DePaul boasts an impressive record of 11-2, but both losses have come in Big East play to Butler and Marquette, the latter of which the Musketeers dismantled. This match kicks off a four-game road trip for the Musketeers. The next home game can be caught on Oct. 16 against Georgetown.