By: Isabel Smith ~Staff Writer~
Musketeers volleyball team continued Big East action this past weekend with matches against the Georgetown Hoyas on Oct. 16 and the Creighton Bluejays on Oct. 17. The Georgetown match marked the beginning of four consecutive matches at Cintas Center for Xavier. The Musketeers entered the match with a 9-8 overall record and standing third in the Big East with a 5-2 conference record, while the Hoyas were 7-12 overall and 1-5 in the Big East. Following a close first set and falling 23-25, Xavier turned its performance around and won in successive sets 25-22, 25-17 and 25-18.
The match’s standout performance came from sophomore Kristen Massa, who played in her second game since returning from a four-match absence due to an injury. Massa posted no errors and a career-high hitting percentage of .762 after achieving 16 kills out of 21 attempts. The team as a whole hit a season high .477, and five Musketeers hit above .450. Xavier allowed only seven errors in all four sets. After dropping the first set to the Hoyas, the Musketeers battled the competition past 11 ties and three lead changes to win the second set.
Xavier dominated the entire third set by beginning with a 15-4 run, including 10 kills and no attacking errors, a trend that lasted the entire set. The two teams were tied in the final set at 6-6 before the Musketeers broke away to seal the win.
Xavier had little time to rest before resuming competition against the conference leaders on Oct. 17. In contrast to Georgetown, Creighton entered the match leading the conference with an 8-0 record in the Big East and a 14-7 record overall. The Bluejays arrived to Cintas following a four-set win over Butler. The Musketeers were not able to carry the momentum from the previous night’s win and fell to Creighton in four sets (25-21, 18- 25, 21-25, 21-25). Though Xavier had one more defensive block than the league leaders, it was not enough to decide a Musketeer victory.
Redshirt junior Brooke Betts led with three defensive blocks. Redshirt freshman Meredith Klare also put forth a strong defensive effort, with the match-high 16 digs, in addition to sophomore Samantha Foti’s 12. The Bluejays kept a strong hold over Xavier in sets two, three and four. They led by as many as six in the second, seven in the third and never allowed the Musketeers to get ahead in the final set. Following play against the conference leaders, Xavier returns to Cintas on Oct. 21 for non-conference action against Ohio rival Dayton.