Tuesday, July 26, 2016

XU schedule has 5 NAIA tourney teams in 1st 7 matches

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's 2016 volleyball schedule will include five 2015 NAIA national tournament teams among the first seven opponents, plus a school-record 10 matches in August.

Fourth-year coach Hannah Lawing — who is 65-22 with the Gold Nuggets and has won three Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships apiece — announced Monday the schedule, which consists of 30 regular-season matches, 12 at home.

Xavier (19-8 overall, 11-1 GCAC in 2015) will open the season with matches against NAIA tourney qualifiers Wayland Baptist, Our Lady of the Lake and Evangel in OLLU's Hotel Indigo at the Alamo Saints Classic in San Antonio, Texas. The Aug. 19 matches against Wayland Baptist and OLLU will be Xavier's earliest-ever season opener.

The following week, Xavier will play two more NAIA tourney qualifiers: Aug. 26 against Coastal Georgia and Aug. 27 against Missouri Baptist in the STU Invitational at Miami Gardens, Fla. Missouri Baptist was the national runner-up a year ago.

"We have tried very hard with this schedule to play more matches, especially those against nationally competitive teams, and to play more pre-conference tournaments," Lawing said. "We'll play a lot of August matches because we're trying to push our girls from the start and hold ourselves to a higher standard."

The Gold Nuggets will play a pair of Aug. 30 matches at city rival Loyola — against St. Thomas (Texas) and Loyola — before playing their home opener at 11 a.m. Sept. 2 against William Carey in the second annual Big Easy Blastoff. William Carey is a longtime NAIA member but in its first season of intercollegiate volleyball.

The other Big Easy Blastoff teams will be Southwest (N.M.) and Pikeville.

"In all we'll play nine times against first-time opponents, which was another scheduling goal," Lawing said.

Additional non-conference highlights include a pair of matches apiece against Mobile and Spring Hill. During the past two seasons, Mobile was 63-10, and Spring Hill was 49-14. Spring Hill will visit Xavier Sept. 15, and Mobile will visit Oct. 15 on Senior Day.

Xavier's first of 12 GCAC regular-season matches will start at 5 p.m. Sept. 6 at Tougaloo. The Gold Nuggets' first GCAC home match will start at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 against Philander Smith.

Xavier will play host to SUNO at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 and to Dillard at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 in a Dig Pink match. Both are city and GCAC rivals. SUNO is a five-time GCAC Tournament runner-up in the last six seasons.

The regular-season finale will start at 7 o'clock Halloween evening at home against Tougaloo. It will be Fan Appreciation Night, and there will be a costume contest.

The GCAC Tournament will be played the first or second weekend of November at Dillard's Dent Hall.

NOTES: This will be the ninth season of XU intercollegiate volleyball and the fourth season of matches at the Convocation Center . . . In the previous eight seasons combined, Xavier played 26 times in August, four times a year ago . . . In the 2015 NAIA postseason coaches poll, Missouri Baptist ranked second, Evangel 16th and Coastal Georgia 20th. OLLU, Wayland Baptist and Mobile were among others receiving votes . . . The preseason top 25 will be announced Aug. 16, and the first regular-season rankings will be unveiled Sept. 6 . . . Xavier is scheduled to play seven more regular-season matches than it did in 2015 . . . Xavier seeks a sixth straight GCAC regular-season and tournament championship apiece, along with a sixth straight NAIA National Championship berth . . . Including tournaments, Xavier has won 72 of its last 73 matches against GCAC opponents.

Xavier University of Louisiana
2016 Women's Volleyball Schedule

Aug. 19 (Fri.):  Wayland Baptist, 9 a.m. (Hotel Indigo at the Alamo Saints Classic, San Antonio, Texas)
Aug. 19 (Fri.):  at Our Lady of the Lake, 1 p.m. (Hotel Indigo at the Alamo Saints Classic, San Antonio, Texas)
Aug. 20 (Sat.):  Evangel, 11 a.m. (Hotel Indigo at the Alamo Saints Classic, San Antonio, Texas)
Aug. 20 (Sat.):  Tennessee Wesleyan, 1 p.m. (Hotel Indigo at the Alamo Saints Classic, San Antonio, Texas)
Aug. 26 (Fri.):  at St. Thomas (Fla.), noon EDT (STU Invitational, Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Aug. 26 (Fri.):  Coastal Georgia, 4 p.m. EDT (STU Invitational, Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Aug. 27 (Sat.):  Missouri Baptist, 10 a.m. EDT (STU Invitational, Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Aug. 27 (Sat.):  Indiana Tech, 4 p.m. EDT (STU Invitational, Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Aug. 30 (Tue.):  St. Thomas (Texas) (at Loyola [La.]'s The Den), 5 p.m.
Aug. 30 (Tue.):  at Loyola (La.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 (Fri.):  WILLIAM CAREY, 11 a.m. (Big Easy Blastoff)
Sept. 2 (Fri.):  PIKEVILLE, 5 p.m. (Big Easy Blastoff)
Sept. 3 (Sat.):  SOUTHWEST (N.M), 11 a.m. (Big Easy Blastoff)

Sept. 6 (Tue.)  •  at Tougaloo, 5 p.m.
Sept. 10 (Sat.)  •  at Edward Waters, noon EDT
Sept. 12 (Mon.):  •  PHILANDER SMITH, 5 p.m.
Sept. 15 (Thu.):  SPRING HILL, 6 p.m.

Sept. 22 (Thu.)  •  at Dillard, 6 p.m.
Sept. 23 (Fri.):  FAULKNER, 3 p.m.
Sept. 24 (Sat.)  at Mobile,3 p.m.
Sept. 29 (Thu.):  •  SUNO, 6 p.m.
Oct. 1 (Sat.):  •  TALLADEGA, 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 (Sun.):  •  EDWARD WATERS, 1 p.m.

Oct. 8 (Sat.)  •  at Philander Smith, 1 p.m.
Oct. 13 (Thu.):  •  DILLARD, 6 p.m. (Dig Pink Match)
Oct. 15 (Sat.):  MOBILE, 3 p.m. (Senior Day)

Oct. 20 (Thu.)  •  at SUNO, 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 (Mon.)  at Spring Hill, 6 p.m.
Oct. 29 (Sat.)  •  at Talladega, 1 p.m.
Oct. 31 (Mon.):  •  TOUGALOO, 7 p.m. (Fan Appreciation/Costume Contest)
TBA:  Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, New Orleans (at Dillard's Dent Hall)
Nov. 19 (Sat.):  NAIA National Championship opening round at campus sites, TBA
Nov. 29-Dec. 3 (Tue.-Sat.):  NAIA National Championship final site at Sioux City, Iowa, TBA

All times are Central except where noted
Schedules are subject to change

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


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