CHICAGO – Junior outside hitter Aaron Porter (Woodridge, Ill./Downers Grove South) finished with team-bests of 16 kills and three service aces, but Saint Xavier University could not sustain its early momentum and fell to Lourdes University (Ohio) in Mid-America Men's Volleyball Intercollegiate Conference (MAMVIC) play Friday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (4-8 overall/2-5 MAMVIC) took two of the first three sets by scores of 26-24, 23-25 and 25-19, but struggled in the final two sets dropping them 22-25 and 8-15. Freshman middle blocker Sean Blackwood (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) was also solid for SXU posting seven kills and a pair of block assists.
Junior libero Tom Ryan (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) led the Cougars with 19 assists, while sophomore middle blocker J.T. O'Connell (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice) recorded four block assists. SXU came out hot in the opening set and built a 19-11 advantage following an ace by Porter. However, the Gray Wolves rallied and tied the set at 24-24. An attacking error by Lourdes following by another Porter ace gave Saint Xavier the early lead in the match. The Cougars held a 21-17 lead late in the second set, but again the Gray Wolves fought back to score eight of the set's final 10 points for the 25-23 decision.
The third set started off tight, but sophomore outside hitter Justin Cousin (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) notched a couple of service aces late that helped put SXU in great position to pick up the 25-19 win following a kill by Blackwood. It was back and forth for most of the match's fourth set, but a kill and an ace from Lourdes junior outside hitter Nick DiMarco forced the deciding fifth set. Eight attacking errors plagued the Cougars in the final set with the Gray Wolves taking advantage and getting the 15-8 decision. DiMarco was the offensive leader for Lourdes Friday finishing with 18 kills.
Saint Xavier (4-8 overall/2-5 MAMVIC) heads to Kenosha, Wis., on Saturday, February 11, for a non-conference match-up against Carthage College (Wis.). The match is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start at Tarble Arena.