By Will Pembroke
Xavier volleyball traveled to North Carolina last Friday and Saturday to kick off the team’s regular season at the Charlotte Invitational.
The Musketeers came out of the weekend 1-2, defeating South Carolina State University 3-0, while losing to Charlotte and Colorado University-Boulder 3-1, respectively.
Xavier’s first game on Friday was nothing short of a dominant performance, with the Musketeers winning three straight sets: 25-8, 25-8 and 25-9.
Junior outside hitter Maryann O’Toole led the team in kills for the game with seven, followed up closely by sophomore middle blocker Hunter Fry and graduate student right side Moriah Hopkins earning six apiece.
Senior middle blocker Ellie Chaffee dominated defensively, recording a game high three blocks. Junior setter Carrigan O’Reilly arguably had the most impressive day on the team, setting up her teammates to the tune of 33 assists.
In all, O’Reilly assisted on 44% of the teams’ total points, making her mark on a great overall team performance.
The rest of the weekend for Xavier did not go quite as smoothly as it started.
Game Two against Charlotte was tightly contested the whole way through, ending in a 3-1 Charlotte victory winning set one, two and four. Sets one and two in the matchup went Charlotte’s way only by two points for each, 25-23. Xavier recovered in the third set, scoring 25-19. The Musketeer comeback was halted, however, with the Niners closing things out 25-21.
O’Reilly stepped up again with 44 assists and 10 kills. Hopkins led the Musketeers in kills with 17 for the game. However, a strong defensive performance by Charlotte was too much for Xavier to overcome in the end.
Game Three was again closely contested. Colorado and Xavier split sets one and two, 25-23 being the score in each.
The Buffaloes closed things out in sets three and four, winning 25-18 and 25-22. Sophomore libero Stevie Wolf impressed defensively, recording a game-high 21 digs for Xavier.
O’Reilly closed out the weekend as strong as she started it, tying the Buffaloes leader in assists for a game-high 43.
Senior outside hitter Norah Painter led the Musketeers with 14 kills, with Hopkins finishing second on the team with 11 herself.
All in all, it was an OK showing by Xavier going up against a strong Colorado opponent.
Wolf ended the weekend in impressive fashion as she was nominated for the Charlotte Invitational All-Tournament team.
Xavier volleyball will head to Chicago this weekend to play three games as the University of Loyola hosts their own tournament.
Games One and Two come on Friday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST against Southern Illinois University and Eastern Kentucky University. Xavier will play its final game of the weekend against Loyola at 3:30 p.m.