Gold Nuggets win at SUNO, improve win streak to 11

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana hit .300 for the sixth consecutive match, extending a school record, in a 25-14, 25-15, 25-11 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference volleyball victory Wednesday at city rival SUNO.

The Gold Nuggets (17-4, 8-0) have won 11 straight, tied for the third longest streak in program history. XULA won 13 in a row in 2017. The 2013 team set the school record of 20 consecutive victories.

XULA hit .429 in the first set and finished at .326. Marine Angely had nine kills to lead the Gold Nuggets for the third consecutive match. Vivica Price-Spraggins had eight kills, Jaida Dowd had seven, and Elena Duru had six.

Taikeidra Joseph had eight kills and Kennedy Williams seven for the Lady Knights (2-12, 2-7), who hit .022 and dropped their third in a row.

Dowd, a sophomore, played the right side for the first time this season and responded with a team-leading .667 hitting percentage in nine attacks. She had four blocks to tie her career high.

“I worked on the right side a little bit in practice this week,” Dowd said, “but I didn’t know I would play there until we got to SUNO. It was the first time in a long time I played the right side. I was a little nervous, but I knew I could do it. I knew I needed to be good for my team.”

Angely hit .412 in 17 attacks, and Price-Spraggins hit .389 in 18 attacks. Eva Le Guillou and Tiffany Phillips had 17 assists apiece, Phillips and Price-Spraggins served two aces apiece, and Beatrice Formilan produced a match-high 11 digs before sitting out the third set. Adili Rikondja also had four blocks.

XULA had advantages of 38-24 in kills, 6-0 in aces, 39-34 in digs and 5-3 in blocks.

“We’ve just got to keep working to be consistent,” said head coach Pat Kendrick, whose two-year XULA record is 40-7.
SUNO was the first of five XULA opponents in six days. Next for the Gold Nuggets will be three matches in Kentucky, starting with a 5 p.m. Friday match at NAIA No. 6 Lindsey Wilson, the 2017 national champion. The Blue Raiders have won 68 straight at home dating to 2013.

“We’re excited to play the defending champions,” Kendrick said, “and we’re looking forward to a good weekend of volleyball.”

XULA will play twice Saturday at Campbellsville University: 11 a.m. EDT against Fisk, then 3 p.m. against the host Lady Tigers. The Gold Nuggets’ next home match will start at 6 p.m. Monday in the Convocation Center against Tougaloo (14-10, 8-0), which shares first place in the GCAC with XULA.

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