Sunday, October 9, 2016

Gold Nuggets win at Philander, remain unbeaten in GCAC

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Xavier University of Louisiana survived a first-set deficit Saturday and earned a 25-21, 25-15, 25-22 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference volleyball victory against Philander Smith.
The Gold Nuggets (11-13, 8-0) won their fourth in a row overall and the ninth in their last 12 matches. In GCAC regular-season matches, XULA has won 15 straight and 67 of its last 68.
XULA hit .000 in its first 24 attacks to fall behind 16-11, then hit .387 thereafter and finished at .279, its third-highest percentage of the season.
Monet Fontaine had nine kills and hit .400 for XULA, and Juliana Tomasoni had eight kills, 11 digs and hit .333. Adili Rikondja and Sarah Pitts-Groce had five kills apiece and combined to hit .500. Kayla Jones had 10 digs.
Also assisting in the comeback was setter Tiffany Phillips, who entered the match when the Nuggets trailed 15-11 and produced 21 assists, two kills, two blocks and an ace. XULA served seven aces, two apiece by Cara Ford and Taylor Ducros. The Nuggets are 7-0 this season when Ford serves an ace.
Autumn Trimble had 20 kills and nine digs for Philander Smith (3-14, 0-8), which has dropped four straight and 11 of its last 12.
Tomasoni led XULA with five second-set kills and ended the match with a kill after the Lady Panthers rallied for a tie at 21. Rikondja's kill broke the tie and put the Nuggets ahead to stay.
The Nuggets will play city and GCAC rival Dillard at 6 p.m. Thursday in a Dig Pink Match for breast cancer awareness at XULA's Convocation Center. Dillard took sole possession of second place in the conference Saturday when it won in three at Tougaloo and SUNO lost in three at Talladega.
NOTES:  XULA has won every set against the GCAC, a program-best 24 in a row, since it dropped the first set in its opener at Tougaloo . . . The Gold Nuggets are 11-0 all-time against Philander Smith. They hit .329 in two meetings this season, 177 points higher than a year ago . . . XULA is averaging 18.59 digs per set, well above its school-record 17.01 from a year ago.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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