CHICAGO – Led by 16 kills from sophomore outside hitter Justin Cousin (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest), the Saint Xavier University men's volleyball team stunned No. 8 ranked Clarke University (Iowa) in Mid-America Men's Volleyball Intercollegiate Conference (MAMVIC) play Thursday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (2-3 overall/2-3 MAMVIC) took the match in four sets by scores of 21-25, 25-21, 25-22 and 25-22. It was the second straight victory for SXU after beating Robert Morris University (Ill.) in four sets Monday evening.
Junior outside hitter Aaron Porter (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South) also had a nice night for Saint Xavier finishing with 12 kills and seven digs. Other key performers for the Cougars Thursday were sophomore outside hitter Evan Muys (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) with eight kills and team-best 14 digs as well as freshman setter Jim Boyce (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) with 26 assists and 10 digs. Freshman Dan French (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame) also had a nice match for SXU with a team-leading six total blocks, including two solos, and 10 assists. The Crusaders were paced offensively by freshmen hitters Bobby Gallagher and Tyler Wills with 13 kills apiece.
All four sets were very tight with Clarke pulling away late in the first one following back-to-back attack errors to close out the set. The second set was also a close one with SXU clinging to a one-point lead, 22-21, before three straight kills, two by freshman middle blocker Sean Blackwood (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) and another by Cousin, tied the match at 1-1. The Crusaders made some crucial errors, both attacking and serving, late in the third set that helped Saint Xavier take control of the match, 2-1. Late in the fourth set, Porter and Cousin took over by recording two kills apiece to secure the match.
Saint Xavier (2-3 overall/2-3 MAMVIC) heads to Davenport, Iowa, on Saturday, January 28, for the Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) Tri-Match. The Cougars will take on No. 10 ranked Grand View University (Iowa) at 1 p.m. and wrap up the day with a 5 p.m. match versus No. 1 Saint Ambrose.