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Loyola volleyball heads to GCAC tournament

November 13, 2009

The Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team heads into the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed, after finishing the season with a 7-3 conference record and 17-14 overall. This year’s championship is hosted by the University of Mobile at Pharr Gymnasium, starting Friday, Nov. 13.

Mobile was seeded first, after finishing the regular season with a perfect 10-0 GCAC record. The Lady Rams (20-11) made it through the conference only losing two games, both to Loyola in 3-1 victories. Behind Loyola, the Dillard Lady Bleu Devils (9-11) take the No. 3 seed, winning a head to head tiebreaker with Belhaven University (17-18), who both finished at 5-5.

The Spring Hill University Lady Badgers (8-14) come in at No. 5, with a 3-7 conference record, and the Southern University New Orleans Lady Knights (1-15), who are in their first season of volleyball, take the No. 6 seed, after going winless in the conference.

The Wolfpack, led by GCAC kills leader Gina Gill (3.8 kpg), takes on SUNO on Friday morning at 11 a.m. Loyola knocked off the Lady Knights in both matches this season, sweeping both games 3-0. At 3 p.m., Loyola is set to play the Belhaven Lady Blazers. Loyola split the season series with Belhaven, with each team winning five games on their home court. Belhaven and SUNO play at 7 p.m. on Friday to round out Pool B.

In Pool A, Mobile will face Spring Hill at 9 a.m., followed by a match with Dillard at 1 p.m. Spring Hill and Dillard finish their side with a match at 5 p.m. Loyola went 2-0 against both Spring Hill and Dillard during the regular season, beating each team 3-0 at The Den, and 3-1 on the road.

On Saturday, the top team from Pool A will face the second place team from Pool B at 10 a.m. At noon, the top team from Loyola’s side, Pool B, will take on the second place team from Pool A. The winners of each match will then move on to play for the GCAC title and a birth to the NAIA National Tournament. The championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Loyola, which only has one upperclassman on the roster, has several players leading or near the top of conference rankings. Gill, a sophomore outside hitter, along with leading in kills, is tied for second in the GCAC in aces (0.4 apg); freshman middle blocker/outside hitter Rachael Roth is also is tied for second in the GCAC in aces (0.4 apg) and fourth in the conference in total blocks (78). Freshman setter Samantha Worsham is second in assists, with 8.7 per game. Sophomore libero Amanda Oldani leads the conference in digs with 465, and is second in digs per game at 3.9.

Freshman middle blocker/outside hitter Ashley Abendschein rounds out Loyola’s top performers this season with 2.3 kills per game, which ranks ninth. As a team, the Wolfpack lead the GCAC in aces (2.3) and blocks (1.8) per game, and are second in kills with 11.3 per game.

For the complete schedule and to view more information on the tournament, please visit Mobile’s website at www.umobile.edu/athletic/2009gcacvball.asp.

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