Volleyball ready for Big East play

By: Julia Haber ~Guest Writer~

Newswire photo by Tom vonAhlefeld | Abbey Bessler (above) leads the Musketeers into conference play after winning conference Player of the Year a season ago.

The Xavier women’s volleyball team is currently prepping for its Big East opener against St. John’s, which will take place on Sept. 23 in New York. The Musketeers are led by a variety of players and will need to be on top of their game against a competitive Red Storm squad.

Senior Abby Bessler has led the team, recording 191 kills in just 13 matches, which is good for second in the conference. She is coming off a strong 2015 season that saw her win the Big East Player of the Year award. Second on the team in kills (134) is junior Kristen Massa, a member of the 2015 All Big East First Team. The two key setters on the team are sophomore Mckena Estes and redshirt junior Mackenzi Humm, who were both on the Big East All-Academic team last year.

Leading the team on the defensive side is redshirt sophomore Alexis Newsome with a combined 60 solo and assisted blocks. Senior Brooke Bets is also proving to be a force defensively with 32 total blocks.

The Musketeers are 6-7 with some big wins in early season tournaments, recording victories against opponents such as Northwestern, Milwaukee and Tennessee. They have competed in a variety of tournaments such as the Illini Classic, the Dayton Invitational, the Western Michigan Tournament and the Stacey Clark Classic.

Xavier is preparing for a tough Big East slate, with the conference currently boasting five teams with a .685 winning percentage or higher. Xavier’s first home game is against the defending Big East champion Creighton Bluejays, who currently stand at second in the conference in kills behind the Musketeers.

The first home game against Creighton is at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30 in Cintas.