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Xavier volleyball wraps up season

By John Wilmhoff
On November 30, 2011

After falling short of their overall goal, an Atlantic 10

Conference championship and NCAA tournament appearance, the Xavier volleyball team had one last chance to end the season on a high note at Cintas Center

last Saturday. Head coach Mike Johnson scheduled an extra regular season home match against Lipscomb, which followed the conference tournament that was played the previous weekend. The hope was that the match

would fill in a time-gap between the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament and would be one last tune-up before the NCAA's. Xavier's goal of advancing its season fell just short after reaching the Atlantic 10 Championship

match for the second year in a row and falling to Dayton in four sets. But Lipscomb, the NCAA tournament-bound champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference, provided Xavier with one final match against a quality opponent, which they could feel very proud to defeat and Xavier did just that, knocking off the Bisons in four sets (25-22, 16-25, 25-21,

25-17) to finish a perfect 9-0 at home for only the second time in school history. "I thought overall we performed well [against Lipscomb]. It's a hard game to play mostly because we knew that our NCAA tournament chances weren't real good. We tried to prepare for it like it was our tournament game against a tournament team, and I thought we performed well," Johnson said. Johnson cited 21 wins, beating very good teams and getting to the finals of the A-10 again as successes in a 2011 campaign that began with changes in the coaching staff and a roster of

younger players taking on increased roles. "There are a lot of positives here, and there's a lot to build on," Johnson said. The foundation for the program to build on the successes of the 2011 season is very strong, with many key underclassmen returning. The top returnees for the

Musketeers include sophomore Sarah Brown (led the squad in kills), redshirt sophomore Alex Smith (led Xavier in blocks and was second in kills this season), and freshman setter Aubree Smith (led the team in assists and

was third in blocks). The departing seniors, Michelle Matia, Kathryn Traut, and Emily Mayers, each leave behind a program in better shape than when they first arrived on

campus four years ago and all end their careers on a winning note. "It's very special to end your season with a win. Not many teams have the opportunity to do that unless you're the national champion, so it's a proud moment. We're happy and sad at the same time. It's a little bittersweet," Matia said.

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