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XU will visit Spring Hill again in NAIA tournament opener

NAIA National Championship logo
     November 18, 2013

     NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana will get a rematch with Spring Hill this weekend in the 2013 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Opening Round.
     The Gold Nuggets (26-7) and Badgers (35-3), both with lengthy active win streaks, will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Spring Hill's Arthur Outlaw Rec Center in Mobile, Ala. It will be the third meeting this season between Xavier and Spring Hill and the second time in three years that the Nuggets and Badgers play in the opening round.
     The NAIA announced first-round pairings Monday afternoon.
     Twenty-four teams — the XU-Spring Hill winner, 11 other Saturday winners and 12 teams with first-round byes — will advance to the 2013 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by J&L Enterprises and CNOS Foundation, at Sioux City, Iowa, from Dec. 3-7.
     This is Xavier's third consecutive appearance at nationals and third overall. The Nuggets lost 25-13, 25-11, 25-21 at Spring Hill in the 2011 opening round
and 23-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-20 at Georgetown (Ky.) in the 2012 opening round.
     The Nuggets and Badgers opened their seasons against each other Aug. 23 in the UMobile/Spring Hill Tournament. Spring Hill won 25-8, 25-20, 25-22. Spring Hill also defeated Xavier 25-12, 25-20, 25-9 at Spring Hill on Sept. 3. The Nuggets have won 21-of-24 matches since that second meeting and will enter the tournament with a school-record 20-match win streak.
     Xavier hasn't lost since Sept. 7 when it dropped matches to Lourdes and Georgetown — both national tourney qualifiers — in Georgetown's Rumpke Invitational.
     Outside hitters Taylor Reuther (387 kills, 378 digs, 39 aces) and Chinedu Echebelem (251 kills, 287 digs. 37 aces), middle blockers Moira Kirk (311 kills, 80 blocks) and Claudia Haywood (173 kills, 54 blocks), setter Franziska Pirkl (834 assists, 183 digs) and libero Jodi Chatters (348 digs) are Xavier's statistical leaders. Reuther, Kirk and Pirkl were All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference selections this year, and Haywood was MVP of the GCAC Tournament, which Xavier won to earn an automatic bid to nationals.
     First-year head coach Hannah Lawing led the Nuggets to a school record for victories in a season.
     Spring Hill, ranked 23rd, has won 27 straight since losing in five sets to tournament qualifier Lindsey Wilson on Sept. 6. The Badgers have a 17-match home win streak and have won 42 of their last 43 at home.
     Defending champion and second-ranked Concordia (Calif.) was among the 12 to receive first-round byes. There are two unbeaten teams in the field: top-ranked UT Brownsville (31-0) and fourth-ranked Madonna (38-0).


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
(504) 520-7329 phone
(504) 520-7934 fax

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