Sunday, September 4, 2016

Gold Nuggets tame Mustangs in Big Easy Blastoff

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana produced four players with double-figure kills and four with double-figure digs Saturday in a 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-17 volleyball victory against Southwest (N.M.) in the second annual Big Easy Blastoff at XULA's Convocation Center.
The Gold Nuggets won their only match of the day and finished fourth in the five-team standings at 1-2. They're 3-10 for the season.
XULA's Juliana Tomasoni, an all-tournament selection, produced her sixth double-double of the season. She had 17 kills, 15 digs, two blocks, an ace and hit .318. Monet FontaineHasani Salaam and Terri Drake had 10 kills apiece, with Drake's total a career best. Amanda Perry had 19 digs — she increased to 12 her school-record of consecutive matches in double figures — Tiffany Phillips had 11, and Kaelan Temple had 10.
Phillips had 43 assists in her eighth assist/dig double-double of the season. Temple reached double figures for the third straight game; she had a career-best 14 digs in each of XULA's Friday matches.
Ashley Preuss and Shelby Bartley had 12 kills apiece for Southwest, and Kristin Silva had 21 digs.
XULA evened the match when Phillips, Fontaine and Drake closed the second set with kills. The Gold Nuggets rolled in the third set with the help of a 12-1 run, and they limited Southwest to minus-.031 hitting in the clinching set.
XULA outhit the Mustangs .215 to .138 for the match and had advantages of 51-45 in kills, 79-70 in digs and 7-5 in blocks. Both teams served six aces. Ralitsa Slanchev led the Gold Nuggets with a season-best two aces.
Southwest and Pikeville both finished 3-1 in the tournament. William Carey was 2-2, and SUNO was 0-3. In the other Saturday matches, Pikeville defeated William Carey 25-16, 25-9, 20-25, 25-17 and SUNO 25-15, 25-16, 25-21, and Southwest beat William Carey 25-18, 25-19, 25-22. For the season Southwest is 6-2, Pikeville is 8-2, William Carey is 2-5, and SUNO is 0-6.
Joining Tomasoni on the all-tournament team were Southwest's Bartley and Brenda Pargas, William Carey's Megan Zulli and Pikeville's Savanna Zakman and Sydney Hall. Zakman, a sophomore setter, was the MVP.
XULA, the five-time defending Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champion, will play its GCAC opener at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Tougaloo. The next home match will start at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 — one week from Monday — against GCAC opponent Philander Smith.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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