Kirk's work helps Gold Nuggets defeat Faulkner in five
October 28, 2011
NEW ORLEANS — Freshman Moira Kirk had 23 kills,
the most by a Xavier University of Louisiana player this season, to rally
the Gold Nuggets in a 25-19, 14-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-12 women's volleyball
victory Friday against Faulkner.
Kirk had three kills in the final seven rallies to
help the Gold Nuggets (17-6) rally from a 17-14 deficit in the fourth set,
then she closed the match with consecutive kills after Xavier trailed 3-0 and
9-5 in the fifth.
"I wish I had a team full of Moira Kirks," Xavier coach
Christabell Hamilton said. "I say that because of her heart. She plays hard
every day, whether it's a match or practice. She always gives me 100 percent,
and sometimes she exceeds that. She's a leader by example."
Kirk also had four blocks and an ace and hit a team-best
.364 in 44 attacks. Chinedu Echebelem had 10 kills, eight digs and three blocks,
and Taylor Reuther had eight kills, 16 digs and a career-best five blocks. Xavier
also got 11 digs from Celeste Poe and a career-high 17 digs from Kia Smith,
whose dig set up Kirk's winning shot.
"Kia Smith played a great match," Hamilton said.
"She's continued to fight for playing time. She's gotten more time recently,
and today she stepped up."
Neysa Hernandez had 14 kills, 10 digs, two blocks and
two aces for Faulkner (18-17), which dropped its fourth straight. Kelsey Bell
had 10 kills and 23 digs, and Abbie Melvin had 19 digs.
Xavier took the lead for good in the deciding set with
a 7-1 run. Echebelem and Jeanay Butler blocked Brittnay Renfroe's attack to tie
the score at 10, and Reuther's lone ace put the Nuggets ahead to stay.
"Man, we were in some trouble in the fifth," Hamilton
said. "I just told them that we've got to stay together and keep fighting."
It's the second time in the program's four seasons
that Xavier won after trailing two sets to one, and it's the first time in
five tries that the Gold Nuggets defeated Faulkner. This is the first Xavier
team with three five-set victories in a season.
Both teams committed 48 errors. Xavier outhit
Faulkner .155 to .154 and had a 71-67 advantage in digs, but the Lady Eagles
had advantages of 54-48 in kills, 8-4 in aces and 9-7 in blocks.
Xavier will travel to Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
and city rival SUNO for a 6 p.m. match Saturday. The Gold Nuggets have clinched
a share of the GCAC regular-season championship and need a victory against SUNO
or Dillard to win the title outright. SUNO and Dillard are both 7-2 in conference,
and they're the only teams which can catch Xavier.