NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana has been picked to repeat as Gulf Coast Athletic Conference volleyball champion, and the Gold Nuggets’ Juliana Tomasoni is on the preseason All-GCAC team.
The conference’s seven head coaches made the selections, which the GCAC announced Monday.
XULA, which seeks sixth consecutive GCAC regular-season and tournament championships, received 5-of-7 first-place votes and 47 points in the poll. SUNO is second with 42 points, and Dillard is third with 32. SUNO and Dillard received one first-place vote apiece.
The Gold Nuggets have won 72 of their last 73 matches against GCAC opponents. The lone loss was in five sets last year at SUNO, which earned a shared of the 2015 regular-season title
Tomasoni, a junior outside hitter/defensive specialist from Nova Trento, Brazil, and a former Northeastern Oklahoma A&M standout, was one of seven named preseason All-GCAC. In her first season at XULA, Tomasoni ranks second in the GCAC with 4.18 digs per set, third with a .237 hitting percentage and fourth with 3.0 kills per set.
After opening the season with out-of-state tournaments each of the past two weekends, XULA (1-7) will play five times this week in its home city. The Gold Nuggets will visit Loyola Tuesday for matches at 5 p.m. against St. Thomas (Texas) and 7 p.m. against Loyola, then play host to the second annual Big Easy Blastoff at the Convocation Center. XULA will play Friday at 11 a.m. against Pikeville and 5 p.m. against William Carey and Saturday against Southwest (N.M.) at 11 a.m.
|GCAC Preseason Voting|
|Kaylin Davison||Edward Waters||OH||5-9||Jr.||Columbus, Ohio|
|Carla Novaes||Talladega||OH||6-1||Sr.||Sao Paulo, Brazil|
|Shelby Stewart||Dillard||OH||6-0||Jr.||Houston, Texas|
|Marija Stojijkovic||SUNO||S||5-8||So.||Belgrade, Serbia|
|Juliana Tomasoni||Xavier||OH/DS||5-9||Jr.||Nova Trento, Brazil|
|Autumn Trimble||Philander Smith||RS||6-2||Jr.||Mobile, Ala.|
|Cailyn Ware||Dillard||OH||5-7||Sr.||Pearland, Texas|
|Preseason Player of the Year: Carla Novaes, Talladega|
|Order of Finish (first-place votes in parentheses)|