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Volleyball advances to Atlanic 10 tournament

By John Wilmhoff
On November 17, 2011

Freshman setter Aubree Smith enters her first career Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament this weekend after a record-breaking regular season.

Smith was awarded the A-10 Rookie of the Week honor, yet again, on Monday. Smith captured the weekly award for the seventh time this season, an A-10 conference record.

Senior middle blocker Michelle Matia, on the other hand, enters her last conference tournament of her Xavier career.

"My top individual accomplishment I would say would have to be unexpectedly getting honored onto the First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament Team last season. I had zero expectations of either of those things happening, so I was honored when I heard the news," Matia said. "But this year, my goal is for our team to win the A-10 Championship and make my first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It is my last chance, after all."

The Musketeers took a step in the right direction towards that goal on Sunday, sweeping Temple 3-0 on the road.

The victory ensured a No. 2 seed and a first round bye in this weekend's tournament in Dayton. In the semifinals, XU will face the winner of St. Louis and Rhode Island.

A victory in the semifinals could mean a potential rematch of last year's A-10 Championship match against Dayton.

However, with the loss last Friday against St. Louis fresh in their minds, and the recent loss against Rhode Island, Xavier has a tough match ahead of them in the semifinal round before looking ahead to facing archrival Dayton again in a potential championship match.

"It may have been a blessing in disguise to lose to St. Louis. We understand that there is no Sunday without Saturday. We're not looking ahead for one second," head coach Mike Johnson said.

This weekend's tournament is being held just up Interstate 75 at the University of Dayton's Frericks Center.

Xavier will play at 7:30 on Saturday night. Should they advance, they will play again at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are $3 for students when you present your Xavier All-Card.

"I'm really glad it's in Dayton. It's close enough for our fans to attend," Johnson said.

This weekend won't be your last chance to see Xavier volleyball in the area, however, as they return to Cintas Center for one more regular season match against Lipscomb on Saturday, Nov. 26, following the A-10 Tournament.

"The Lipscomb match is one more tune-up for us to prepare for the NCAA Tournament," Johnson said.

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