NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana encountered few problems Thursday against a city and Gulf Coast Athletic Conference volleyball rival.
The Gold Nuggets trailed only once — early in the first set — survived a late challenge in the second set and earned a 25-15, 26-24, 25-14 victory against Dillard at Dent Hall. It was the first of three matches in as many days for XULA, which will play Faulkner at 3 p.m. Friday in a non-conference match at the Convocation Center.
XULA (7-11, 4-0) outhit Dillard .263 to .079 and had advantages of 43-19 in kills, 8-5 in aces and 71-58 in digs. No XULA player reached double figures in kills, but 10 of the 13 Nuggets who played recorded at least one kill.
“We did a really good job of keeping the momentum on our side despite a rowdy and loud crowd,” XULA coach Hannah Lawing said. “We did a great job of being one cohesive unit on the court and controlling the things we could control. We minimized our hitting errors, something we’ve struggled to do this season.”
XULA defeated Dillard for the 14th consecutive time dating to 2010. The Gold Nuggets have won 76 of their last 77 matches against GCAC opponents.
Freshman Terri Drake had a match-high nine kills for XULA. Bria Moore and Juliana Tomasoni had eight kills apiece, and Monet Fontaine had five. Moore hit .571 in 14 attacks and reached a career high in kills.
Four Gold Nuggets reached double figures in digs. Amanda Perry had 18 — she extended to 17 her school-record streak of consecutive matches in double figures — Tiffany Phillips had 11, and Kaelan Temple and Kayla Jones had 10 apiece.
Phillips had 34 assists and tied a XULA season record with her ninth assist/dig double-double. Cara Ford had three aces, and Perry served two.
XULA trailed 3-2 in the opening set before grabbing control with an 11-3 run which included Moore’s two kills and two blocks. The Gold Nuggets led 8-1 and 14-5 in the second set but needed consecutive Dillard hitting errors to clinch after the Lady Bleu Devils (5-11, 2-1) rallied to tie at 24.
The Gold Nuggets led 16-7 in the third set and ended the match on Fontaine’s kill.
Tristan Cojoe had eight kills and four blocks for Dillard, and Demetria Horton had 15 digs. XULA limited Corneisja Harrison, who collected 52 kills in two matches this past week, to five kills and minus-.057 hitting in 35 attacks.
XULA and SUNO are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the GCAC. They’ll meet next Thursday at the Convocation Center.