The University of Cincinnati volleyball team has improved to 2-1 after defeating crosstown rivals Xavier University (1-2) on Friday night. Cincinnati won the match after taking three sets compared to the Musketeers one.
Coming into the Friday night matchup, Xavier had lost to Marshall University and defeated Bellarmine University, while Cincinnati split their doubleheader with Illinois State University.
Dating back to 2014, Cincinnati has won five consecutive matches over Xavier, with their last matchup resulting in a 3-0 set sweep by Cincinnati in 2019. After their latest victory, the Bearcats now lead the series 26-11 all time.
After a back and forth first set with ties at 21-21 and 24-24, the Musketeers took the first set 26-24. Cincinnati sophomore Madison Waters (14) finished the first set with the most kills of either team at seven.
Cincinnati's middle blocker, Adria Oliver (21), continuously handed Xavier energetic kills well into the second set, finishing with eight. Waters continued to lead both teams in single kills at 11, propelling Cincinnati to take the second set 25-21, making the match tied at 1-1.
Cincinnati took the third set 25-19, despite having a slower pace than the previous two. At this point, Cincinnati had four more kills than Xavier and an impressive total of seven aces.
Cincinnati sophomore Maria Tobergte (11) secured back-to-back double-doubles during the fourth set, taking 21 digs and 13 kills to Xavier. Oliver also finished with 13 kills as the pair matched Xavier's Ellie Chaffee for most kills.
Cincinnati won the match 3-1 after a 25-21 fourth set, led by 57 team assists and 13 aces, to Xavier’s 50 and five. Tobergte and senior Ashley Kozer (13) both had a match high of five aces each.
After admitting to a "slow start," Cincinnati head coach Molly Alvey said, "Every time we step into this arena it's going to be tough to play in."
Alvey said she's proud of the group while pointing out that her team "has each other's backs" when referring to the success her team's depth plays into victory.
The second match of this year’s Crosstown Rivalry will take place at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+