St. Charles, Mo. – Sophomore outside hitter Justin Cousin (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) combined for 30 kills over four matches to lead the Saint Xavier University men's volleyball team at the Lindenwood University Invitational over the weekend in St. Charles, Mo. The Cougars (4-7 overall) lost their first three matches to No. 4 Graceland University (Iowa), No. 8 Missouri Valley College (Mo.) and No. 2 Park University (Mo.), respectively, before defeating Hannibal-LaGrange University (Mo.) on the event's final day. All four matches were non-conference affairs, but the four opponents were all members of the West Division of the Mid-America Men's Volleyball Intercollegiate Conference (MAMVIC).
In Friday's first match against Graceland, junior outside hitter Aaron Porter (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South) led the way for SXU with 10 kills, but the Cougars dropped the match in three straight sets 18-25, 26-28 and 20-25. Freshman setter Jim Boyce (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) recorded 12 assists, while Cousin and freshman middle blocker Sean Blackwood (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) each contributed six kills. In the second match versus Missouri Valley, sophomore outside hitter Evan Muys (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) totaled nine kills as Saint Xavier fell again in three sets, 14-25, 16-25 and 22-25. Boyce finished with 11 assists, while sophomore middle blocker J.T. O'Connell (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice) was tough defensively with a combined seven blocks (two solos, five assists).
The Cougars struggled to get their offense clicking in Saturday's opening match against Park finishing with just 25 team kills. O'Connell paced the attack with six kills and also tallied four block assists. Junior defensive specialist Tom Ryan (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) posted 11 assists, while freshman libero Adam Sieger (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) chipped in nine digs. In the victory over Hannibal-LaGrange, Cousin was impressive with 15 kills and five service aces as the Cougars won in four sets 25-19, 16-25, 25-15 and 29-27. Muys was also tough offensively with 11 kills, while Porter tallied 17 digs.
Saint Xavier (4-7 overall/2-4 MAMVIC) hosts conference foe Lourdes College (Ohio) on Friday, February 10, at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The match is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.