The Seton Hall volleyball team continued its winning ways Friday night, downing Big East rival Xavier three sets to none, on the road, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Despite the convincing final score-line, it did not always seem that the Pirates would continue their recent winning ways. They had to claw their way back from an early deficit, as they trailed early in the first set, 11-6. The Pirates would mount that necessary comeback against the Musketeers, rallying off five straight points, punctuated by a Caitlin Koska kill.
Koska was vital for the Pirates tonight, as she led the team in kills with 14. In the first set, though, the majority of the Pirates productivity came from outside hitter Abby Thelen. Thelen, who has led the way in kills for the Pirates throughout the season, totaled seven in the first set alone. She would finish with 11 on the night, and behind her strong showing, help the Pirates steal the first set by a 25-21 score-line.
Xavier proved to be a much more competitive opponent than its 7-11 record coming into the night implied, as they put the Pirates in an early 6-2 hole in the second set. The Pirates then staged a ferocious rally, which included a dominant 6-0 run. Not long after, when the score was knotted at 10-all, the Pirates went on another 6-0 run to firmly take control.
The set was far from over, though, as The Hall slipped just a bit and allowed a 7-1 Xavier run, which tied the score at 17-all. From there, it was back and forth action. A kill by Koska earned set-point, and then a kill by Sophia Coffey secured the set for the Pirates, 26-24, putting the Pirates up 2-0 in the match.
Xavier came out swinging in the third set, opening a quick 7-4 advantage. This would shortly be erased, as the Pirates scored five straight to take a 9-7 lead. The Musketeers offered one last offensive push, rallying off a 7-1 scoring streak with the score tied at 12 to jump ahead 19-13.
But The Hall was relentless on the night, with kill after kill by Koska striking a dagger into the Musketeers momentum. The Pirates scored five of the last six points in the match, and the ironclad defense of Thelen led to a block that ended Xavier’s night, and the set, 25-23.
Dominique Mason and her digging ability were key to the victory tonight, as she recorded 11 digs. Meanwhile, Maggie Cvelbar continued her streak of impressive play, with a double-double of 21 assists and 11 digs.
With the win, the Pirates improved their Big East record to 4-2, and their overall record to 10-9. The Pirates will turn the page quick, as they travel from Cincinnati to Indianapolis to face Butler at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Dalton Allison can be reached at Dalton.Allison@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @DaltonAllison4.