CINCINNATI - Saint Louis enjoyed an easy victory in the opening set, but Xavier rebounded and claimed a 15-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15 win Friday night at Cintas Center in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams.
Grace Bonoma registered a match-high 25 digs for the Billikens, who slipped to 5-9 overall. Xavier improved to 8-7.
Lauren Baumet and Lindsey Dinkelacker tallied 12 and 10 kills, respectively, to lead SLU's offensive attack. Cassie Clarke had 28 assists and 11 digs, Andrea Bolt recorded 16 digs, Carly Marcum picked up six blocks and Anna Church chipped in 11 digs.
After Saint Louis scored the first three points of the match, Xavier battled back to tie the opening set 7-7. But the Billikens notched the next two points and gradually pulled away for a 1-0 match lead.
SLU grabbed a 2-0 edge in set two, only to see Xavier go on a 10-3 run to gain command. The Billikens drew no closer than four points the rest of the way, and the match was deadlocked 1-1.
Following a 1-1 tie in set three, the Musketeers scored four straight and 10 of the next 14 points for an 11-5 advantage. The Billikens fought back with a 4-0 spurt to pull to within two, but a 3-0 Xavier run allowed the hosts to re-establish control and take a 2-1 lead.
The Bills were on top 3-2 in set four before a 6-0 flurry gave the Musketeers the upper hand. Xavier led by as many as 12 points before settling for the final 10-point margin.
Saint Louis plays a 6 p.m. (CT) match Saturday at A-10 preseason favorite and defending champion Dayton.