Nuggets win GCAC opener, stretch win streak to 5

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NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana opened defense of its Gulf Coast Athletic Conference volleyball regular-season championship with a 25-10, 25-20, 25-11 victory against Tougaloo.

The Gold Nuggets (6-1), winner of the last six GCAC regular-season and tournament titles, won for the fifth consecutive match and the second time in three days. Freshman Kayla Black had 12 kills and led XULA in that category for the second straight match. Black served a career-best three aces.

Other statistical standouts included Hasani Salaam with 10 kills and a .529 hitting percentage, both season highs; Vivica Price-Spraggins with seven kills and a .417 hitting percentage; Tiffany Phillips with 29 assists and 17 digs; Anna Dalla Vecchia with 19 digs; and Juliana Tomasoni with six aces, a career best, and 16 digs.

Phillips, the 2016 GCAC Setter of the Year, produced her third consecutive double-double and 17th of her career. Tomasoni’s aces were the most in a match by a XULA player since Ralitsa Slanchev served seven at home against Voorhees on Sept. 29, 2014.

XULA snapped the 3-match win streak of Tougaloo (4-6, 1-2). Carolyne Edwards and Megan Besecker had five kills apiece for the Lady Bulldogs, and Kayla Cole had 12 digs.

XULA outhit Tougaloo .276 to .040 and had advantages of 46-17 in kills, 12-4 in aces and 69-48 in digs.

The Gold Nuggets will play Edward Waters at 6 p.m. Monday at XULA’s Convocation Center. The Lady Tigers are 3-0 in the GCAC after winning in four sets Saturday at Philander Smith.

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