No matter the sport, the Crosstown Rivalry between the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Xavier University has always been intense.
The Bearcats volleyball team were defeated by the Musketeers on Saturday during their rivalry weekend matchup. This was just the second time that Cincinnati has lost to Xavier out of their last seven matchups, as Xavier has started to make a comeback in the all-time series. The volleyball all-time series is now 8-5 in the Bearcats’ favor.
Xavier came out strong in the first set, leaping to a 3-0 advantage early on and never losing the lead afterwards. Cincinnati had multiple miss-hits and errors early, and Xavier took advantage. The Musketeers led by as much as seven, but Cincinnati managed to close the gap by winning six of seven points. However, UC’s comeback efforts fell short, and Xavier took the first set, 21-25.
Hitting percentage is a very telling stat, and it played a big role in why Xavier won the match. Cincinnati ended the set much stronger than the Musketeers, yet Xavier’s play was too much to overcome in the end. Cincinnati’s impressive .400 hitting percentage was topped by Xavier’s .471, but both teams played efficient volleyball in the first set.
In the second set, Xavier again tried to use their strong start to pull away in the lead, but the Bearcats didn’t let themselves get too far behind. Cincinnati held the lead for most of the set and managed to dominate, winning the second set 25-20 to tie the series.
The second set’s hitting percentage was in favor of Cincinnati by .062, with the squad boasting a .368.
The third set started out all in the Bearcats’ favor, who jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Xavier didn’t waver though, and quickly turned the tide to take an 8-7 lead. The back-and-forth match eventually met at 16 points apiece. After that, Cincinnati managed to slightly pull forward and close out a 25-21 win in set three.
Cincinnati’s .316 hitting percentage in the third set topped Xavier’s trailing .121, and it showed. Xavier struggled to get anything hard-hit back from the Bearcats, especially down the stretch, and it’s what allowed Cincinnati to win the set.
With their backs against the wall, Xavier came into set four needing a win. After falling behind 7-1, the Musketeers bought it all the way back to 18 points shared and took a 21-19 lead. Cincinnati fought back strong and tied it at 21. From there, chaos set in.
This was the most competitive and electrifying set of the match, as the teams went deep into overtime. Both teams went back and forth all the way to 35 until Xavier managed to win the set 37-35.
Xavier carried this momentum into the fifth and final set by running Cincinnati off the court in a 15-7 rout, the largest win of the entire match. It was a dominating final set for the Musketeers who put up a .588 hitting percentage in comparison to Cincinnati’s -.043, the most drastic difference of the match.
In sets won, Cincinnati outdid Xavier for a .285 hitting percentage total increase. In sets lost, Xavier outdid UC by a whopping .775. Whichever squad won the set also won the hitting percentage battle for each set, something Xavier excelled at in the final two.