CHICAGO – Senior middle blocker J.T. O'Connell (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice) and sophomore middle blocker Sam Kull (Darien, Ill./Downers Grove South) combined for 19 kills, five service aces and eight total blocks (one solo), but the Saint Xavier University men's volleyball team dropped a heartbreaker in five sets to No. 10 ranked Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) Tuesday night on Bob Hallberg Court at the Shannon Center in Chicago. The Cougars (1-9 overall/1-3 GLD) lost the Great Lakes Division match by scores of 25-22, 19-25, 16-25, 25-22 and 6-15. SXU looked to have the momentum after surging late in the fourth set to force the decisive fifth set, but CSU jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in the final set and never looked back.
O'Connell tallied 10 kills and four block assists in the match, while Kull posted nine kills, five service aces and four total blocks (one solo). Freshman setter Moises Lopez (Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) recorded team-bests of 35 assists and 11 digs for the Cougars Tuesday. Freshman outside hitter Sean Barry (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy) and senior outside hitter Justin Cousin (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) also each finished with double-digit kill totals for SXU with 11 and 10, respectively. The Wolves were led offensively by senior middle hitter Noah Mader with 15 kills on the night.
Saint Xavier (1-9 overall/1-3 GLD) heads up north to Kenosha, Wis., on Saturday, February 15, to take on NCAA Division III Carthage College (Wis.). The match is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start at Tarble Arena.