CHICAGO –Junior outside hitter Kayla Mullaney (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) and senior middle blocker Kim Scudder (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) formed a formidable pair as the Saint Xavier University volleyball team rolled to a victory over Goshen College (Ind.) in its season opener Wednesday evening at the Shannon Center in Chicago. Mullaney led the Cougars with 14 kills, while Scudder finished with 12 kills toward the winning effort. SXU won the match in three sets by scores of 25-11, 25-20 and 25-23.
The Cougars came out firing and quickly jumped out to a 6-1 lead behind a pair of kills by Mullaney. SXU built a 19-6 advantage in the match's first set on another kill by Mullaney. Saint Xavier would end the set on a kill by junior outside hitter Kelly Knudsen (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community). Miscues plagued the visiting Leafs early in the second set and SXU capitalized by taking an 8-4 lead. The Cougars led the entire second set and took a 2-0 match lead following an ace by junior libero Christine Bowe (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) and a pair of late kills by Scudder. The third set was close throughout, but a big block by Mullaney and junior middle blocker Colleen O'Hara (Lemont, Ill./University of Iowa/Lemont) gave SXU a 23-19 lead and kills by O'Hara and Knudsen sealed the deal. Knudsen led the Cougars with three service aces, while Bowe posted a team-best eight digs. O'Hara recorded eight total blocks in the match (one solo, seven assists).
Saint Xavier (1-0 overall) heads to Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend to take part in the Grand View University Tournament. The Cougars play their first of four matches in the tourney on Friday, August 26, against Benedictine College (Kan.) at 4 p.m.