No. 15 Crusaders Advance To National Tournament Final Site With Win Over St. Xavier
Volleyball - Sat, Nov. 17, 2012
News Photo
Saint Xavier University

Box Score

Site: Livonia, Mich. (Activities Center)
Score: Madonna 3, St. Xavier 1 (25-18, 25-15, 23-25, 25-16)
Records: MU (34-7), SXU (31-13)
Next MU event: Tuesday, Nov. 27 – vs. TBA (Sioux City, Iowa) – TBA

LIVONIA, Mich.  – For the first time since the 2008 season, the Madonna University volleyball team will advance to the NAIA National Championship Final Site in Sioux City, Iowa, as the No. 15-ranked Crusaders downed St. Xavier 3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 23-25, 25-16) in a national tournament opening round match at the Activities Center on Saturday (Nov. 17).

Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Geile (Muskegon, Mich. / Fruitport) led all players with 16 kills to go along with 10 digs for a double-double. Senior outside hitter Taylor Dziewit (Almont, Mich. / Almont) added 13 kills while junior middle hitter Emilie Freeman (Livonia, Mich. / Lutheran Westland) chipped in with 11 terminations and five block assists. Junior setter Evia Prieditis (Milford, Mich. / Milford) recorded 47 assists while posting a team-high 12 digs for a double-double of her own and sophomore libero Amanda Obrycki (Allen Park, Mich. / St. Frances Cabrini) added 11 digs in the win.

In the deciding fourth set, the Crusaders held a 10-9 lead before going on a 12-3 run, begun with one of nine kills in the match by junior outside hitter Stacey Catalano (Macomb, Mich. / Eisenhower) and keyed by five kills from Geile to go along with a pair of terminations from senior middle hitter Nastija Baranovska (Riga, Latvia / Rigas Secondary No. 16). Prieditis capped the run with a service ace that made it 22-12 in favor of the Crusaders. The two sides traded points until a Dziewit kill gave MU its first shot at match point and the home side wasted little time as Baranovska and Catalano teamed up to block the final St. Xavier attack to the floor for the 25-16 win and a 3-1 win in the match.

Sets one and two were all MU from the outset as the Crusaders cruised 25-18 and 25-15 to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Dziewit and Geile combined for nine of MU's 15 kills in set one as MU out hit SXU .333 to .118. The second set saw MU use an 11-5 run midway through the frame, keyed by two of Freeman's five kills in the set for the 25-15 win. The Crusaders connected at a .250 clip while holding the Cougars to a -.061 percentage, thanks to six block assists in the stanza.

The Cougars staved off elimination with a dramatic set three win, 25-23, as the Crusaders rallied back from a 17-12 deficit to take a 22-20 lead. A pair of MU miscues in the final points proved pivotal as SXU pulled within one set with the win. Kelly Knudsen led the Cougars with six kills in the set to go along with four from Kayla Mullaney.

Knudsen led St. Xavier with 11 total kills in the match while Mullaney and Colleen O'Hara added eight terminations each. Desiree Aramburu recorded 27 assists to go along 10 digs each from Christine Bowe and Dominique Aramburu.

MU moves on to the round of 24 at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa, starting with pool play on Nov. 27. The Crusaders will learn their opponents for pool play on Monday (Nov. 19).

Post Match Quotes
Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Geile
On if the fact that MU has advanced to the final site has sunk in yet:
"It really hasn't sunk in yet that we're going to the final site. We kept saying to just treat this like any other match but in the back of our minds we knew it had a lot more meaning to it. I think it didn't "feel" different because we were playing at home in front of our fans. I don't think it will actually sink in until we get to Iowa."

On the set three loss:
"I think we got kind of ahead of ourselves after winning the first two sets. We knew they (SXU) were going to come our hard and we just kind of got a little complacent."

On what she felt were the keys to the team's and her success today:
"We were communicating well today. We were passing and obliviously Evia was setting well but I think the biggest thing was that we were just communicating and talking. People were telling me what was open when I got the set and I think the communication was the key."

On getting to enjoy the team's successes this year with her younger sister Breanna on the team:
"It's so weird because in high school we got to the state finals together and won states and now we are in nationals together. I couldn't be more blessed."

Junior setter Evia Prieditis
On if the fact that MU has advanced to the final site has sunk in yet:

"Honestly, no it hasn't. I'm still speechless and I can't even formulate the thoughts about how excited we are to go to Iowa."

On the set three loss:
The first two sets we came out strong and we were trying to earn every point and in the third set we just got complacent with how we were playing and we didn't keep pushing. We knew they were going to fight back and we just let them dominate the set.

Contact: Patrick Moore (734) 432-5834

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Record: 16-2 Home: 3-0 Away: 4-0 Neutral: 9-2 WHAC: 5-0