Gold Nuggets win in 3 at city rival Loyola; XULA announces home time changes

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NEW ORLEANS — For the first time ever, Xavier University of Louisiana women’s volleyball has defeated Loyola in three sets on the Wolf Pack’s court.

The Gold Nuggets got double-doubles from Kennedy Wade, Angela Egonu and Emi Riglioni and three aces, all in the third set, from Juliana Cruz in a 25-19, 25-23, 25-18 victory Tuesday against their city rival at The Den.

XULA, 11-2 and winner of 10 straight, will travel to Hawkins, Texas, for Red River Athletic Conference matches against Jarvis Christian at 6 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.

Wade produced a match-high 18 kills, nine in the third set, 11 digs and hit .333. Egonu had 12 kills, an ace and a season-high 10 digs, and Riglioni had 20 assists and a season-high-tying 13 digs. Cruz served consecutive aces during an 11-3 run to open the third set.

XULA middle blockers Maya Smith and Kendall Mack combined to hit .421 — nine kills and one error in 19 attacks.

“I was happy we won in three,” XULA head coach Pat Kendrick said. “When we passed well enough to run the middle, our middles did a nice job to put the ball away. We had some nice outside kills in transition. There were flashes of what we had been working on in practice — to get better timing between our setters and our hitters.”

Brittany Cooper hit .375 with 10 kills, Simone Tyson hit .333 with nine kills and 10 digs, and Amaya Bazemore had four blocks for Loyola (11-8), which lost in three sets for the first time in its last 14 home matches.

XULA outhit Loyola — which was among “others receiving votes” in the first two NAIA coaches polls this season — .211 to .167 and had advantages of 44-33 in kills, 5-1 in aces and 57-47 in digs.

SCHEDULE UPDATE: Earlier Tuesday, Kendrick announced time changes for three RRAC home matches. XULA will play Texas A&M-Texarkana at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 and Our Lady of the Lake at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 and noon Oct. 23. All those matches will be played at the University of New Orleans Human Performance Center while XULA awaits installation of a replacement floor at its Convocation Center.

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