Gold Nuggets rally, but seventh-ranked SAGU wins 15-12 in fifth in NAIA volleyball opening round

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WAXAHACHIE, Texas — Xavier University of Louisiana wiped out a two-set deficit Saturday before seventh-ranked SAGU clinched a 25-19, 25-20, 18-25, 22-25, 15-12 victory in the 2022 NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship Opening Round at SAGU’s Sheaffer Center.

The Lady Lions (33-0), the tournament’s only unbeaten team, advanced with 23 other first-round winners to Sioux City, Iowa, where pool play will begin Nov. 29. The Gold Nuggets, whose 12 consecutive national-tournament appearances are the longest active streak in the NAIA, finished 21-9.

XULA’s 8-0 fourth-set run erased an 18-15 deficit and helped extend the match, and the Gold Nuggets led 4-2 in the fifth after Sydney Murray’s ace. But a 5-1 run put SAGU ahead to stay, and Ava Myers clinched with her 12th kill of the match.

Kendall Mack produced a match- and season-high 10 blocks for XULA. Kennedy Wade had 19 kills, two blocks, an ace and 12 digs for the Gold Nuggets, Stella Dineva had 12 kills, three blocks, an ace and seven digs, Murray had 10 kills, three blocks, an ace and 10 digs, and Linda Mungai had 18 digs.

XULA’s Emi Riglioni had 24 assists, three aces and 14 digs, and Charity Metcalf had 23 assists. Mack and Alyssa Studvent had five kills apiece.

Emma Tompkins had 13 kills and eight blocks for SAGU, and Abby Wells had 13 kills and four blocks. Tessa Glick had 24 digs, and Maddi Patten had 19.

SAGU outhit XULA .175 to .138 and had advantages of 57-54 in kills and 84-79 in digs. Both teams had 12 blocks, and XULA had a 7-4 advantage in aces.

SAGU defeated XULA for the second time in three weeks. The Lady Lions won 25-12, 25-18, 25-17 Oct. 29 at SAGU.

XULA is 1-11 all time in the opening round, including three five-set losses.

2022 NAIA nationals — first round
SAGU d. XULA 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 18-25, 22-25, 15-12)
Jamestown d. St. Ambrose 3-0 (25-17, 25-9, 25-12)
Park (Mo.) d. Cumberland 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-18)
Columbia (Mo.) d. Ottawa (Kan.) 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-20)
Midland d. Indiana Tech 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-19)
Concordia (Neb.) d. Florida College 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-21)
Saint Xavier d. Central Methodist 3-2 (15-25, 18-25, 25-21, 29-27, 15-9)
Cornerstone d. St. Thomas (Fla.) 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-19)

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