Gold Nuggets split a pair on opening day of volleyball tourney in Dearborn

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DEARBORN, Mich. — Xavier University of Louisiana volleyball opened the Pat Kendrick era Friday with a split of two matches at the UM-Dearborn Early Bird.

The Gold Nuggets trailed 8-4 early against Trinity International, then rallied for a 25-23, 25-16, 25-16 victory. But in the second match NAIA No. 24 Madonna erased a 10-6 XULA lead in the final set and defeated the Nuggets 25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-11.

Freshman Vivica Price-Spraggins led XULA with eight kills against Trinity International, and Tiffany Phillips served two aces. Against Madonna, Juliana Tomasoni had 12 kills, and freshman Kayla Black had 11. Another freshman, Anna Dalla Vecchia, served four aces, all in the second set.

Kendrick, who led NCAA Division I George Mason from 1985-2014, was hired in February as XULA’s head coach.

The victory against Trinity International was XULA’s first on the road in a season opener since its debut season in 2003.

Trinity International is 1-3, and Madonna is 5-0.

XULA will play two more matches in this event Saturday — 10 a.m. EDT against Lawrence Tech and 2 p.m. against Fisk — then open its home schedule at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Mobile at the Convocation Center.

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