CHICAGO –Junior outside hitter Kelly Knudsen (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) combined for 34 kills and 22 digs to lead Saint Xavier University to a pair of wins over Spring Arbor University (Mich.) and Mount Mercy College (Iowa), respectively, as part of the Saint Xavier/Trinity Christian Crossover Tournament Friday evening at the Shannon Center in Chicago. With the victories, the Cougars improve to 6-1 overall and match their best start to a season since 1997. SXU won the first match over Spring Arbor in four sets by scores of 25-21, 23-25, 25-17 and 25-15. It took just three sets to claim the victory over Mount Mercy at 25-19, 25-17 and 27-25.
In Friday's opener, junior outside hitter Kayla Mullaney (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) led the way with 16 kills, while Knudsen chipped in 15 kills and 17 digs. Senior middle blocker Kim Scudder (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) also played well for SXU posting 11 kills, five digs and two block assists. Junior middle blocker Colleen O'Hara (Lemont, Ill./University of Iowa/Lemont) finished with four total blocks, including one solo. Freshman Kelli Shaffer (Heyworth, Ill./Heyworth) was also tough defensively scooping up 17 digs, while junior setter Desiree Aramburu (Chicago, Ill./Radford University/Mother McAuley) recorded 45 assists.
Against Mount Mercy, Knudsen led things offensively with 19 kills, while junior libero Christine Bowe (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) posted a team-best 14 digs. Senior setter Jaclyn Major (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) had a nice all-around match with 33 assists and 13 digs for the Cougars. O'Hara finished the night's second match with a pair of block assists.
Saint Xavier (6-1 overall) wraps up play in the Crossover Tournament on Saturday, September 3, with two matches. The Cougars take on Morningside College (Iowa) at 10 a.m. Saturday before closing the tournament out with a 2 p.m. match against Davenport University (Mich.).