Volleyball dominates Buffalo All-Tournament to start season

By Molly Hulligan, Head Copy Editor

Xavier women’s volleyball returned from the Buffalo All-Tournament last weekend with a 3-0 undefeated start to the season. 

The Musketeers went up against the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Blazers, the Cleveland State Vikings, and the University at Buffalo Bulls in the tournament hosted by Buffalo. 

Xavier had a rough start against UAB in their first match on Friday, losing the first set 11-25. They saw a major point improvement in the second set against the Blazers, though they still fell short 21-25. 

In the third set against the Blazers, the Musketeers kicked it in gear and came out on top with a score of 25-18. After a confidence-boosting win, Xavier took the fourth set 25-21 and the fifth set 15-9 to commence the season with a well-earned win under their belts. 

Standing out on the leaderboard against UAB is senior outside hitter Brooklyn Cink with a notable 16 kills, senior setter and right side hitter Carrigan O’Reilly with 33 assists and sophomore defensive specialist (DS) Lucia Corsaro with 21 digs. 

Following the game against the Blazers, the Musketeers went point for point with the Cleveland Vikings in an intense matchup, again taking the game to five sets. In set one, both teams reported 19 kills and four attack errors. Xavier came out of the first set with 26 points, leaving Cleveland close behind at 24. The Vikings turned the tables in the second set though, and the Musketeers fell to the Vikings 23-25. The third set accumulated to a more comfortable win from Xavier with a score of 25-19, but Cleveland followed in the fourth with a 22-25 win. Ultimately, in a nail-biting fifth and final set, the Musketeers came out on top with a score of 16-14, resulting in an overall win against the Vikings and 2-0 record on the season. 

O’Reilly was an all-around asset for Xavier against the Vikings, with an impressive 15 kills, two blocks, 25 assists, 15 digs and an ace for the Musketeers. Other notable players this game include junior middle blocker Delaney Hogan with 12 kills and five blocks, sophomore outside hitter Anna Taylor with 13 kills, sophomore setter Logan Flaugh with 27 assists and senior libero Alyssa Overbeck with 25 digs and two aces. 

After a riveting 10 sets played Friday, the Musketeers hit the court for five more on Saturday afternoon to face off against the tournament’s host, the Buffalo Bulls. In set one, Buffalo had 16 kills compared to Xavier’s 10, which was a determining factor in the set one loss for Xavier at 19-25. Turns out that was just a warm up, though; in set two, Xavier had 15 kills over Buffalo’s eight, amounting to a 25-18 win for the Musketeers. Set three went back to the Bulls 22-25, but Xavier took set four 25-23. Finally, the Musketeers dominated the fifth set 15-5 with 9 kills and only one attack error. Overall, while the Bulls outdid the Muskies in aces (2-11 XU-UB), Xavier dominated in kills (60-56) and digs (63-55). 

Leading the offensive against Buffalo was senior outside hitter Brooklyn Cink and sophomore outside hitter and DS Emma Grace with 16 kills each. On the defensive, junior libero Stevie Wolf had 22 digs, no doubt a key factor in Xavier’s win against Buffalo.

At the conclusion of the tournament, O’Reilly was awarded MVP honors for the tournament, with a total of 82 assists and 30 kills over the 15 sets played. O’Reilly, Hogan and Corsaro earned positions on the all-tournament team. 

If the Musketeers’ sweep at the Buffalo Tournament is any indication of success in Big East play, then get excited to see what comes next from Xavier volleyball. 

Xavier women’s volleyball hosts Eastern Michigan, Purdue and Virgina at Cintas this weekend, Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday, Sept. 3.