Friday, October 30, 2015

Nuggets stretch streak with 5-set victory at Loyola

NEW ORLEANS — Claudia Haywood had a career-high 21 kills, and Ruby Hunt-Thompson produced kills on all four of her fifth-set attacks Thursday in Xavier University of Louisiana's 25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 20-25, 15-12 volleyball victory at city rival Loyola.
The Gold Nuggets (14-7) won their sixth in a row and defeated the Wolf Pack (16-17) at The Den for the second time in eight attempts all-time. Loyola leads the series 12-5, but Xavier won five of the past six meetings.

Haywood, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Co-Player of the Year, produced the most kills in a match by an XU player this season. Her previous best was 17 kills in four sets at Tougaloo last season. Hunt-Thompson had three kills to give the Gold Nuggets a 7-4 lead in the fifth, and the freshman ended the match with a kill.

Hunt-Thompson had a 15 kills and five blocks, both career bests, and hit .538.

Jodi Hill had a season-high 15 kills and CeCe Williams 10 for Xavier. Williams and Taylor Reuther had 18 digs apiece, and Darian Harris had 16.

Eva Allen had 19 kills and 15 digs for Loyola. Allison Hartmann had 12 kills, and Jordan Davis had 11.

Xavier hit .310 and had season highs of 72 kills and 66 assists. The Gold Nuggets' nine blocks matched a season high. Franziska Pirkl had 51 assists, a season high, for Xavier.

"We played with a lot of energy and heart," XU coach Hannah Lawing said. "It took a while to get into a rhythm, but when we found our groove, our side of the net felt unstoppable."

The victory was the Gold Nuggets' second this season in five sets and their first on the floor of a non-conference opponent.

Xavier will play its final home match of the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday against SUNO. The Lady KniBghts lead the GCAC by a match over the Gold Nuggets. Xavier will honor six seniors — Haywood, Reuther, Harris, Pirkl, Williams and Hill — in a pre-match ceremony.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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