Nuggets dig up breakthrough win vs. Badgers

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana defeated Spring Hill 25-18, 25-18, 19-25, 25-22 Thursday for the Gold Nuggets’ first-ever volleyball victory against the Badgers.

The Gold Nuggets (5-1) lost their 19 previous matchups with Spring Hill (1-1), two last season.

Kayla Black’s first collegiate double-double, 14 kills and 11 digs, helped spark XULA to its fourth consecutive victory and second in as many home matches. Also producing double-doubles for the Nuggets were Juliana Tomasoni with 12 kills and 19 digs and Tiffany Phillips with 26 assists and 14 digs.

Other XULA contributors were Anna Dalla Vecchia with 20 digs, Vivica Price-Spraggins with 12 kills and a .579 hitting percentage, Lauryn Taylor with nine kills and three blocks, Adili Rikondja with eight kills, Hasani Salaam with a season-high-tying four blocks and Eva Le Guillou with 22 assists.

Black, Dalla Vecchia, Price-Spraggins, Le Guillou and Taylor are freshmen.

“The key for us was consistency,” first-year XULA head coach Pat Kendrick said, “and I thought we showed that in the sets we won. Spring Hill is a great team and was a great test for us. We needed that.”

Black had three kills during a 10-0 second-set surge that gave the Gold Nuggets a 12-1 lead. After a fourth-set tie at 11, XULA scored 11 of the next 15 points. Salaam’s kill ended the match, which lasted nearly two hours.

Payton Gidney had 11 kills, Randu De’Armitt served three aces, Taylor Hurst had nine kills and four blocks, and Cassidi Sterrett had 19 digs for Spring Hill.

XULA will continue its home stand with a 1 p.m. Saturday match against Tougaloo at the Convocation Center. It will be the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opener for the Gold Nuggets, who won the last six GCAC regular-season and tournament championships.

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