Saturday, August 20, 2016

2nd-day split for Nuggets; Tomasoni sets school record

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Xavier University of Louisiana split its final two volleyball matches Saturday in the Hotel Indigo at the Alamo Saints Classic, and newcomer Juliana Tomasoni broke the XULA record for kills in a match.

The Gold Nuggets (1-3) lost 17-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-12 to NAIA No. 20 Evangel, then — after a 45-minute break — rallied to defeat Tennessee Wesleyan 23-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-17.

Tomasoni, a junior and a transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, produced a school-record 25 kills against Evangel and had a career-best 28 digs. Tomasoni had 17 kills, 16 digs and four aces against Tennessee Wesleyan.

Freshman setter Tiffany Phillips extended her streak of assist/dig double-doubles to four. Phillips had 43 assists and 17 digs against Evangel and 46 assists and 14 digs against Tennessee Wesleyan.

Additional freshman standouts included Hasani Salaam, who had 24 kills and seven blocks in the two matches, and libero Amanda Perry, who had 43 digs, 24 against Evangel. Adili Rikondja had six kills and three blocks in the final match. Taylor Ducros had 15 digs against Evangel.

Tomasoni, Salaam and sophomore transfer Monet Fontaine combined for 39 kills and a .492 hitting percentage against Tennessee Wesleyan. Fontaine, a sophomore transfer from NCAA Division I Morgan State, had 15 kills for the day.

XULA placed fourth out of five teams. The host, Our Lady of the Lake, led the way with a 4-0 record. Tomasoni led the tournament with 3.4 kills per set and a .333 hitting percentage, and Phillips was tops in assists with 8.9 per set.

"We had a great weekend overall," fourth-year XULA coach Hannah Lawing said. "We traveled 10 newcomers, eight freshmen, and I have to say that it surely didn't feel that way. This class of newcomers is exactly who (assistant coach) Hilary (Lobenstein) and I wanted as part of this 2016 team. They are fierce competitors, even more fierce supporters, and they're extremely receptive to their coaches when given feedback.

"We did a great job of managing the things within our control. We got our serves in, maintained consistent energy, acted as one cohesive unit and were supportive. We excelled in many areas, but our biggest areas of growth were terminating free balls and overpasses as well as playing with a sense of urgency. Every set we got better at playing like every point was game point."

The Gold Nuggets will be return to the road next week for four matches in the STU Invitational at Miami Gardens, Fla. On Friday they'll play the host, St. Thomas, at noon EDT, then play defending Southern States Athletic Conference champion Coastal Georgia at 4 p.m. Saturday opponents will be NAIA No. 2 Missouri Baptist, the national runner-up a year ago, and Indiana Tech.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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