Nuggets defeat city rival Loyola, finish 2-2 in home volleyball tournament

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana volleyball finished 2-2 Saturday in its season-opening Early Bird Invitational after losing 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 to NAIA No. 5 Viterbo and defeating city rival Loyola 25-18, 25-19, 25-12.

Against Loyola, Maya Smith — in her first collegiate start — set a XULA record for blocks in a match by a freshman with eight. The previous mark was seven, reached six time by four freshmen. The overall school record is 10.

Kayla Black against Loyola had 12 kills and 10 digs. She produced a double-double in every tournament match. Bria Mayes had eight kills and four blocks, Si Si Mitchell had 13 digs in her first match as the libero, Ema Causevic served two aces, and Vivica-Price Spraggins hit .583 with eight kills and two blocks. Running the offense was setter Eva Le Guillou, who had 31 assists, seven digs and a block.

Jordan Bernard had eight kills for Loyola (1-3), and Brittany Cooper and Helene Massone served two aces apiece. Massone had 13 digs.

XULA rallied from deficits of 14-10 in the first set, 16-15 in the second and 9-7 in the third.

“We had some bright spots,” XULA coach Pat Kendrick said, “and we have a number of things to work on. It was good to end the weekend on a winning note.”

Against Viterbo, Black had 14 kills, 11 digs and two blocks. Causevic had six kills, and Mayes and Price-Spraggins had five kills apiece. Jennifer Torres had 11 digs and her team’s only ace. Mayes had six blocks and Price-Spraggins five.

Miah Garant had 15 kills and two blocks for Viterbo, which won all four of its tournament matches, and Katie Frohmader had 13 kills and two blocks. Lauryn Sobasky had 13 digs, and Rachel Frankowski had 12.

Viterbo is the first top-10 team to visit XULA.

XULA will compete in the STU Invitational at Miami Gardens, Fla., Thursday through Saturday, then return home for its Big Easy Blastoff, a five-team tournament Aug. 30-31.

Early Bird Invitational Final Standings
4-0 Viterbo
2-2 Xavier (N.O.)
2-2 Cumberland
1-3 Coastal Georgia
1-3 Loyola (N.O.)

Saturday’s Scores
Cumberland 3, Coastal Georgia 0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-22)
Viterbo 3, Xavier (N.O.) 0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-22)
Loyola (N.O.) 3, Cumberland 2 (15-25, 12-25, 26-24, 25-23, 15-10)
Viterbo 3, Coastal Georgia 1 (25-13, 21-25, 25-14, 25-15)
Xavier (N.O.) 3, Loyola (N.O.) 0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-12)

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