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(New Orleans) The newly crowned GCAC Regular Season Conference Champion Xavier Gold Nuggets defeated the Dillard Lady Bleu Devils 3-1 Saturday afternoon at the Barn on the campus of Xavier University.
It was the final regular season conference game for the Lady Bleu Devils, who finished in second place this season in the conference standings after winning the title last year.
Unable to shake off the early game jitters, the Lady Bleu Devils trailed the Gold Nuggets early in the first two sets. In the first set, Xavier opened with an 8-0 lead before the Lady Bleu Devils were able to get on the scoreboard. Xavier was able to counter and dig out all of the Lady Bleu Devils' kill attempts and maintain the early lead they had built throughout the set, winning the set 25-13.
In the second set, the Lady Bleu Devils again fell behind early, with Xavier building an early 12-3 lead. Xavier stretched the lead to 14-3, prompting the Lady Bleu Devils to call timeout. Following the timeout, two consecutive kills by Krista Hall and a serve error point brought the Lady Bleu Devils back to within eight at 14-6. But the Gold Nuggets quickly responded with two points of their own to stretch the lead back to ten and all but closed out the set 25-13.
Following intermission, the Lady Bleu Devils came out with a different level of intensity in the third set. The Lady Bleu Devils were able to play with a lead for the first time in the match. The Lady Bleu Devils rode the back of Junior Jessica Goods-Morris to win the next set and get back into the match. Goods-Morris had 5 kills in the set along with 3 blocks. Xavier attempted to make a late run to close to within three, but the Lady Bleu Devils stayed poised and won the set 25-23.
In the fourth set, both teams were evenly matched, going blow for blow throughout. For the Lady Bleu Devils, it was Jessica Goods-Morris again as the catalysts, leading the way with 4 kills in the set. The Lady Bleu Devils stayed close, but were unable to counter Xavier's powerful hitters and the Gold Nuggets were able to escape with a 25-21 set and 3-1 match victory.
Jessica Goods-Morris had a monster game for the Lady Bleu Devils with a team-high 11kills and 7 blocks. Libero Samantha Salao contributed 16 digs for the Lady Bleu Devils. As a team, the Lady Bleu Devils had 46 digs.
The Lady Bleu Devils will now gear up for their final game of the season on Tuesday, November 8th at 5:00p.m. vs. Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida. From there, the Lady Bleu Devils will travel to Nashville, Tennessee to prepare for the GCAC Volleyball Conference Tournament, which starts on Thursday, November 10th. Team seedings and times are TBD.