Des Moines, Iowa – Despite 16 combined kills and a pair of service aces by junior outside hitter Justin Cousin (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest), the Saint Xavier University men's volleyball team opened its 2013 campaign with a pair of losses in two tough non-conference matches against ranked foes this weekend at Grand View University (Iowa) in Des Moines, Iowa. The Cougars (0-2 overall) fell to No. 5 ranked Grand View Friday night in three sets by scores of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-13. On Saturday afternoon, SXU fell to No. 8 Missouri Valley in four sets 15-25, 22-25, 25-21 and 19-25. From a defensive standpoint, freshman middle blocker Sam Kull (Darien, Ill./Downers Grove South) had a nice debut for the Cougars combining for seven total blocks, including four solo stops at the net.
Sophomore setter Dan French (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame) finished the weekend with 25 assists for Saint Xavier, while sophomore middle blocker Sean Blackwood (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) also played well with nine kills and three total blocks (one solo). Junior middle blocker J.T. O'Connell (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice) was tough as well for the Cougars totaling nine kills and five total blocks (two solos).
Saint Xavier (0-2 overall) hosts its home opener on Wednesday, January 23, taking on No. 9 ranked Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.). The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at the Shannon Center in Chicago.