NCAA D2 West Alabama hires Xavier’s Lobenstein as head coach

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana’s Hilary Lobenstein is returning to her alma mater, the University of West Alabama.

UWA announced Tuesday the hiring of Lobenstein as head coach of women’s volleyball. Her appointment is effective Friday (March 1, 2019). Lobenstein spent the previous five seasons (2014-18) as a XULA assistant coach, the last two under Pat Kendrick.

UWA is a member of NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference. XULA is a member of the NAIA and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference.

Lobenstein was a graduate assistant coach at UWA in 2012 and 2013. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UWA and played volleyball there. She helped UWA go 51-19 in her two playing seasons and win the GSC East Division championship in 2009.

“The offer happened pretty quickly,” Lobenstein said. “West Alabama contacted me. I went for a visit, and the situation felt right. I’m excited to go back.”

Lobenstein helped the Gold Nuggets win GCAC regular-season and tournament championships in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and qualify for the NAIA National Championship tournament all five seasons. The Gold Nuggets were 104-41 overall, 62-2 GCAC during Lobenstein’s tenure. The 2018 Gold Nuggets were 26-7, earned their first-ever victory against a ranked NAIA opponent (Indiana Wesleyan) and set school season records with a .262 hitting percentage and 1.85 blocks per game.

“Hilary has been a great help to me throughout my time here at Xavier. She will be truly missed,” Kendrick said. “We wish her all the best, and we know she will do outstanding work at the University of West Alabama.”

Lobenstein will succeed Alexis Meeks, hired by DI South Alabama as head coach after leading UWA the past three seasons. Meeks’s 2018 Tigers were 22-10, set a school record with 13 conference victories and earned the program’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Only one of the Tigers’ top four scorers in 2018 was a senior.

XULA has launched a nationwide search for Lobenstein’s replacement.

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