No sharing allowed: XULA drops SUNO to win GCAC volleyball title

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana eliminated the what-ifs from the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference volleyball race Thursday with a 25-12, 25-19, 25-9 victory against SUNO at the Convocation Center.

The Gold Nuggets (19-2, 11-0) won the GCAC regular-season championship outright for the sixth time in seven years. Their streak of regular-season titles is seven — they shared in 2015 with SUNO.

Freshman Kayla Black hit .478 with 12 kills, eight digs and a career-best four blocks for XULA. Adili Rikondja and Juliana Tomasoni had eight kills apiece, and Vivica Price-Spraggins had six kills and five blocks.

Tomasoni — honored with Kaelan Temple in a pre-match senior-day ceremony — also had 11 digs and two aces. Anna Dalla Vecchia had 12 digs. Eva Le Guillou (23 assists) and Tiffany Phillips (14) shared the setting duties.

Sonja Backovic had nine kills, and Tijana Milica had 13 digs for the Lady Knights (6-18, 5-6).

XULA outhit SUNO .376 to .053 and had advantages of 46-22 in kills, 6-1 in aces, 48-34 in digs and 10-2 in blocks. The block total was the Nuggets’ best in a GCAC match since 2012.

Black was one of five Nuggets to hit .400 or higher. Price-Spraggins hit .600 in 10 attacks, Rikondja hit .538 in 13 attacks, Tomasoni hit .444 in 18 attacks, and Hasani Salaam hit .400 in five attacks.

XULA will close its regular season next week against city rivals. The Nuggets will visit Loyola in a non-conference match Tuesday, then visit GCAC runner-up Dillard Thursday. Both matches will start at 6 p.m. The GCAC Tournament will be Nov. 10-11, but no announcement has been made about the venue.

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