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Nuggets defeat MC for 2-0 start in Belhaven Tournament

XU coach Christabell Hamilton (white shirt) talks to her team before
 their Belhaven Tournament match against Mississippi College.

XU coach Christabell Hamilton (white shirt) talks to her players before their Belhaven Tournament match against Mississippi College.
     September 7, 2012

Box score

     JACKSON, Miss. — Taylor Reuther had 14 kills and 10 digs Friday, and Xavier University of Louisiana climbed out of a third-set hole to earn a 25-20, 25-22, 28-26 women's volleyball victory against Mississippi College in the Belhaven Tournament.
     It was the third consecutive victory for the Gold Nuggets (3-2) and their second of the day in this event. It's the first time in the program's five-year history that Xavier was 2-0 in one day against non-conference opponents.
     Reuther, a sophomore, produced her third consecutive double-double
and, for the first time in her Xavier career, had two in one day. Teammate Chinedu Echebelem barely missed her third double-double of the season, finishing with 11 kills and nine digs.
     The Gold Nuggets built nine-point leads and held off late Mississippi College rallies in each of the first two sets. Then the Lady Choctaws (3-3) seized the momentum in the third set, scoring the first nine points and leading 16-4 after five XU attack errors and a combined seven kills from Rachel Janssen and Rachel Farmer.
     But Xavier rallied to close the match, getting a combined 10 kills from Reuther and Echebelem and four aces from freshman setter Franziska Pirkl in a stretch of six serves. Pirkl's serving was part of an 8-0 run which closed MC's lead to 18-17. The Nuggets took their first lead at 23-22 on an Echebelem ace, then they squandered three match points before Echebelem clinched with consecutive kills.
     Xavier scored eight points on blocks to compensate for a second set in which the Nuggets had more attack errors (12) than kills (11). Freshman Claudia Haywood produced one solo block and six assists and had two blocks in the final four rallies after MC reduced Xavier's 18-9 lead to 22-21.
     Pirkl finished with five aces, the most by a Nugget in a match this season. Freshmen produced half of Xavier's 48 digs, with Darian Harris leading that class with eight.
     Sarah Farmer had nine kills and Holly Tupper 18 digs for Mississippi College, an NCAA Division III member.
     Xavier and Belhaven, the only teams to go 2-0 Friday, will meet in the final match of the tournament at 4 p.m. Saturday. Xavier will play Rust at noon.
     NOTES:  XU statistical leaders for the day included Reuther with 24 kills and 24 digs and Pirkl with seven aces and 44 assists . . . Xavier is 4-0 all-time against Mississippi College, but this was the teams' first meeting since 2003, the Nuggets' first season . . . The Nuggets are 12-1 in neutral-site matches since Christabell Hamilton became XU coach in 2011 . . . It's the first time since 2004 that the Nuggets won twice in a regular-season tournament and the first time that the Nuggets won their first two matches of a regular-season tourney.


Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and track and field and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
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(504) 520-7934 fax

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