Rams prevail in 4 sets; Dillard visits XULA Thursday

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MOBILE, Ala. — In a matchup of two of the South’s hottest NAIA volleyball teams, the University of Mobile squeezed past Xavier University of Louisiana 25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21 Tuesday.

Mirella Gatterdam had 18 kills, six in the final set, for the Rams (18-3), who have won six straight. Kayla Black had a career-high-tying 18 kills for the Gold Nuggets (10-2), whose nine-match win streak ended.

XULA will open a three-match home stand at 6 p.m. Thursday against city and Gulf Coast Athletic Conference rival Dillard at the Convocation Center. The Gold Nuggets lead the GCAC with a 4-0 record, and Dillard is in second place at 3-1.

Mobile took a two-set lead after breaking a tie at 22, but XULA extended the match with a 15-5 closing surge in the third. The Gold Nuggets led 19-18 in the fourth after Alex Karcher’s attack error, but the Rams got an ace and four kills to end it. Gatterdam kills provided the 23rd and 25th points of the fourth.

Three XULA players produced double-doubles. Tiffany Phillips had 23 assists and 11 digs, Eva Le Guillou had 15 assists and 10 digs, and Juliana Tomasoni had 11 kills and 13 digs. It was the first time ever that two XULA setters had double-doubles in the same match.

Anna Dalla Vecchia and Tomasoni, XULA’s season leaders in digs, had none in the opening set. But Dalla Vecchia eventually joined Tomasoni in double figures and finished with a team-high 14.

Hannah Wentland had 13 kills and Karcher 11 for Mobile, and Annie Kate Hudson had 43 assists and 14 digs. Jocelyn Mahayag had 27 digs, 10 in the final set, and Karcher and Samantha Nichols had five blocks apiece.

Mobile outhit XULA .189 to .135 and had advantages of 54-44 in kills, 71-63 in digs and 10-6 in blocks. The Gold Nuggets outhit the Rams .263 to .051 in the third set but were outhit .233 to .091 in the sets they lost.

It was the first time this season that XULA lost the second set.

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