Monday, November 21, 2016

St. Francis rallies each set to gain sweep of Nuggets

NEW ORLEANS — Sr. Francis (Ill.) rallied in all three sets Saturday to eliminate Xavier University of Louisiana 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round.

The Saints (31-11) rallied from deficits of 14-11 in the first set, 17-12 in the second set and 18-16 in the third. The victory advanced them to the NAIA National Championship Final Site Nov. 29-Dec. 3 at Sioux City, Iowa.

JoAnna Nowicki had 10 kills and nine digs for St. Francis, and Jade Livesay-Groark and Brenne Perinar had eight kills apiece. Brooke Hartnell had 18 digs, Leah Alles had 16 digs, and Amber Casey had 24 assists.

Juliana Tomasoni led XULA (16-17) with her 14th double-double of the season, 10 kills and 14 digs. Terri Drake had nine kills, and Taylor Ducros had a career-high 17 digs. Two seniors played their final XULA match. Kayla Jones had six digs, and Ralitsa Slanchev had 12 assists and three digs.

St. Francis outhit the Gold Nuggets .233 to .111 and had advantages of 45-35 in kills, 4-2 in aces and 67-64 in digs.

XULA was eliminated in the opening round for the sixth consecutive season. It was the Gold Nuggets' sixth overall appearance at nationals. The Saturday match was the first time a XULA team in any sport hosted an NAIA tourney match on its campus.

St. Francis and 11 other Saturday winners will join 20 teams with byes in Sioux City.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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