CHICAGO – Led by a combined 23 kills from senior outside hitter Kelly Knudsen (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community), the Saint Xavier University volleyball team kicked off its SXU/Trinity Christian College Crossover Tournament with a pair of victories Friday night at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars improved to 5-1 on the season by defeating Mount Mercy College (Iowa) in three sets (25-14, 25-16, 25-13) in the 4 p.m. match and then beating Spring Arbor University (Mich.) in three sets (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) in the 8 p.m. match. SXU was impressive in closing the door for each match-up recording attack percentages of .375 (17 kills, five attack errors) and .448 (15 kills, two attack errors) in the final set of both matches.
In the tourney's opener against Mount Mercy College, Knudsen led the attack with 11 kills to go along with a pair of block assists. Senior setter Desiree Aramburu (Chicago, Ill./Radford University/Mother McAuley) finished the match with 30 assists and team-high 11 digs for SXU, while senior middle blocker Colleen O'Hara (Lemont, Ill./University of Iowa/Lemont) had nine kills and two block assists. In the final match against Spring Arbor, senior outside hitter Kayla Mullaney (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) posted a team-best 15 kills along with 10 digs and three service aces. Sophomore defensive specialist Dominique Aramburu (Chicago, Ill./UIC/Mother McAuley) was solid on the defensive side recording 12 digs, while senior libero Christine Bowe (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) tallied 10 digs. Sophomore middle hitter Marie Hackert (Evansville, Ind./Reitz Memorial) finished the night with two solo blocks and four block assists.
Saint Xavier (5-1 overall) wraps up its tournament on Saturday, September 1, with a 10 a.m. match against Ashford University (Iowa) and a 2 p.m. non-conference match against University of St. Francis (Ill.). The Cougars get back to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Thursday, September 6, with a 7 p.m. match against Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) in Milwaukee.