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Reuther, Hamilton earn top honors on All-GCAC team

November 7, 2012

     NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Taylor Reuther is the 2012 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year in women's volleyball, and XU's Christabell Hamilton is a repeat choice as GCAC Coach of the Year.
     Reuther is one of five XU players honored. Moira Kirk and Franziska Pirkl joined Reuther on the first team, and Chinedu Echebelem and Jodi Chatters made the second team.
     GCAC coaches selected the all-conference team Wednesday afternoon, and the results were announced during the evening at a banquet for the teams prior to the GCAC Tournament, which will begin Thursday in Little Rock, Ark.
     Reuther, a sophomore outside
     From left: XU All-GCAC selections Jodi Chatters, Chinedu Echebelem, Moira Kirk, 
Player of the Year Taylor Reuther, Franziska Pirkl and Coach of the Year Christabell Hamilton

From left: XU All-GCAC selections Jodi Chatters, Chinedu Echebelem, Moira Kirk, Player of the Year Taylor Reuther, Franziska Pirkl and Coach of the Year Christabell Hamilton.
hitter from Metairie, La., and a graduate of St. Mary's Dominican High School, leads the Gold Nuggets with 286 kills, 66 aces and 251 digs in 25 matches. She ranks second in the NAIA with 0.78 aces per set. Reuther has eight kill-dig double-doubles, including 21 kills and 20 digs at Belhaven in the championship match of the Belhaven Tournament on Sept. 8.
     Hamilton, who shared the GCAC coaching award a year ago, won it outright this time after leading Xavier to a second consecutive 10-0 conference record. The Gold Nuggets are 18-7 this season — including a school-record 11 consecutive road victories — and 41-14 since Hamilton was hired in June 2011.
     Kirk, a sophomore middle blocker from Dallas and a graduate of Bishop Lynch High School, leads Xavier with a .308 hitting percentage and 69 blocks. She's third on the team with 197 kills and 23 aces. Kirk has nine matches of four or more blocks, and she closed the regular season with double-figure kills in 6-of-8 matches. She hit .416 in GCAC matches.
     Pirkl, a freshman from Munich, Germany, and a graduate of Theodolinden Gymnasium, replaced the graduated Patrice Hightower, an All-GCAC setter in 2011, and recorded 663 assists, 36 aces, 34 kills, 116 digs and 24 blocks. Pirkl ranks 42nd in the NAIA in aces per set and second in the GCAC — first among freshmen — in assists per set.
     Echebelem, a sophomore from Dallas and a graduate of Duncanville High School, is second on the Nuggets with 211 kills and 220 digs. She has seven kill-dig doubles and ranks among the GCAC's top 12 in kills, kills per set, hitting percentage, digs and digs per set. Her 22 digs against Belhaven on Oct. 29 are the most in a match this season by an XU player.
     Chatters, a freshman setter/libero from Lake Charles, La., and a graduate of St. Louis Catholic High School, emerged late in the season as the Nuggets' most reliable libero. She will enter the GCAC Tournament with a streak of eight consecutive matches with 10 or more digs, Xavier's longest streak since it reinstated volleyball in 2010. Chatters has 175 digs, 119 in the past eight matches.
     Reuther, Kirk and Echebelem are repeat All-GCAC selections.
     Xavier will lead off the GCAC Tournament with a 10 a.m. Thursday match against Philander Smith. If the Gold Nuggets win, they'll play at 6 p.m. Thursday against the winner of the Talladega-Dillard match. If the Nuggets lose to Philander Smith, they'll play at 8:30 a.m. Friday in the losers bracket. Xavier is the defending GCAC Tournament champion.


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.

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