By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer ~
Another year of incredible athletic achievements is in the books for Xavier athletics, so it’s time to take a look back at some of the notable performances.
No sooner had students returned to campus for the fall semester than the men’s soccer team begam its season.
Expectations were high for the Musketeers, entering the season ranked in the Top 25 and coming off a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament.
While the season did not pan out as many hoped, there were several significant highlights. Alex Ridsdale’s bicycle kick checked in on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays and was recently voted “Play of the Year” at the first annual XSPY Awards.
As a team, the Musketeers notched their first notable victory of the season by taking down No. 2 Notre Dame in South Bend. They weren’t done there, though, as a trip to Creighton loomed large on the schedule. Matt Vasquenza scored a late goal in Omaha to hand the No. 1 Blue Jays their first loss of the season.
While the Musketeers didn’t make the tournament, a couple of Top-10 plays, victories over the first- and second-ranked teams in the country and a record well above .500 contributed to a significant season.
Also in the fall, Abbey Bessler continued to cement her name as one of Xavier’s all-time greats in volleyball. She was named the Big East Player of the Year and was recently named the College Sportswoman of the Year by the Greater Cincinnati- Northern Kentucky Women’s Sport Association.
Volleyball had a stout 14-4 record in the Big East and will be looking to build off last season as the team prepares for the upcoming year.
Women’s basketball was off to a hot start before faltering a bit in conference play. The team reeled off a seven-game winning streak during the month of December, including a victory over Cincinnati in the Crosstown Shootout. Briana Glover was named to the All-Big East Honorable Mention team for her play.
A year-in-review would be far from complete without mentioning Xavier’s swim team which has continuously proved to be one of the university’s most successful athletics programs.
Men’s swimming won its third consecutive Big East championship – if you’re counting, that’s one for every year Xavier has been in the new Big East. Individually, 23 Musketeer swimmers found their names on the All-Big East team; 12 came from the men’s team while 11 women were honored as well.
This spring, Jose Montaño has excelled for the golf team. He has already been named Big East Golfer of the Week twice while finishing in the top three of multiple tournaments. This, in conjunction with Shane Crutchfield’s individual championship in the women’s Big East golf tournament, bodes well for both golf teams moving forward.
As a whole, Xavier had quite a year in the world of athletics. Men’s soccer continues to put itself on the national map, swimming dominated yet again and women’s basketball made strides. Cross Country has a bright future with runners like freshman Caroline Gosser, and women’s tennis has fought its way to a number two seed in the Big East tournament.
Things are looking up for the Xavier Musketeers, and the 2016- 17 campaigns should be exciting.