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(New Orleans) Over the weekend, the Lady Bleu Devils volleyball team hosted its first-ever Dillard University Volleyball Classic at the Battlefield in Dent Hall, finishing in second place behind Huston-Tillotson University who went undefeated in four games while Dillard went 3-1 on opening weekend of the 2017 season.
In the season opener, Dillard (3-1, 0-0 GCAC) avenged last year's loss by sweeping Jarvis Christian College (25-19, 25-20, 25-16) in straight sets. The Lady Bleu Devils were led by First-Team All-GCAC hitter Corneisja Harrison (SO/Cypress, Texas) who finished with a game-high 12 kills and added five digs while sophomore Tristan Cojoe (SO/Cedar Hill, Texas) finished with eight kills, one solo block and four block assists. On the defensive end, newly transitioned defensive specialist/libero Alexis Barnett (SO/Austin, Texas) finished with a game-high 18 digs in the victory while freshman setter Kamryn Linton (FR/Houston, Texas) finished with a game-high 16 assists.
In game two, the Lady Bleu Devils faced Loyola University in a rematch of last year's thrilling five set match where Dillard squeezed by with a 16 to 14 victory in the final set. This year was nearly equally as thrilling as last year's contest, except Dillard was able to defeat the Wolf Pack in straight sets (25-22, 25-19, 25-23). Prior to last year, Dillard had lost twenty straight games to Loyola's volleyball team dating back to November 2, 2004; however, since the arrival of head coach Nancy Sikobe, the Lady Bleu Devils are 2-0 versus its crosstown foes.
In the contest, senior Shelby Stewart (SR/Houston, Texas), who was the only Lady Bleu Devil selected to the 2016 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Volleyball All-Tournament Team even after missing a chunk of last season due to injury, led the team with nine kills in the win while Barnett and Linton finished with 15 and 12 digs respectively. Linton had a superb all-around game, also adding 16 assists and two service aces, both game highs.
Game three proved to be the unofficial championship game of the DU Volleyball Classic as undefeated Huston-Tillotson University faced undefeated Dillard. In the first set, HT squeaked by with a 25-22 victory. The Lady Bleu Devils answered back with a solid 25-15 victory in set two. In the third set, HT rallied back for a 25-18 victory and then eventually sealed the deal with a 25-17 victory in the fourth and final set. Both Harrison and Stewart finished with 10 kills apiece while Cojoe produced nine kills in the loss. Freshman Sydney Perry (FR/Houston, Texas) had a team-high 20 assists while Barnett finished with a team-high 16 digs.
In the final game of the Classic, Dillard defeated GCAC foe Southern University at New Orleans in four sets (26-24, 21-25, 25-15, 25-11) behind Stewart's game-high 17 kills. Barnett picked up a game-high 22 digs while teammate Chelsea Jolivette (SR/Houston, Texas) had an astonishing eight service aces in the victory.
The game will not count as a conference game for either team.
The Lady Bleu Devils were set to face Mississippi Valley State University on Tuesday, August 29, but the game has been postponed due to the closure of school due to the threat of severe weather.