NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team opened up play at the Hampton Inn Wolfpack Classic on Friday with a pair of 3-0 victories over St. Thomas (25-22, 25-16, 25-19) and Dillard (25-14, 28-26, 25-19).
Loyola (13-9) overcame a late three-point deficit against St. Thomas to take set one. Trailing early in the game, the ‘Pack saw their first lead at 8-7 on back-to-back aces from Gina Gill. The Lady Celts broke a 12-12 tie with four of the next five points, and then bumped their lead to three again at 19-16 with a kill. Loyola got two aces from Amanda Oldani to knot the game at 21, and an error by UST would cap off a 6-0 run, making the score 24-21 Wolfpack. Freshmen Sabrina Stansberry and Katie Broadbent teamed up for a block to seal the comeback victory for Loyola as they took the first set 25-22.
The ‘Pack jumped out to an early lead in set two, taking a 10-4 lead after an Oldani ace. St. Thomas (12-6) closed the gap to four until Stansberry scored a kill to make the score 12-7. Loyola continued to dominate game two, going up 24-14 on a Tuthill kill. The Lady Celts scored two more points before freshman Shelby Plant slammed a kill to give LU a 2-0 lead.
The third set followed suit as the Maroon and Gold took a 7-2 lead early, then extended their advantage to 13-5 on a kill by Tuthill. However, the Lady Celts put together a 7-1 run, closing the deficit to 14-12 after an ace. With the score 18-15 LU, Gill served two more aces to give the ‘Pack a comfortable lead before Tuthill ended the match at 25-19 with kill.
Gill and Samantha Worsham tallied double-doubles in the match. Gill led Loyola with 15 kills while adding 10 digs and four aces. Worsham led with 12 digs and 23 assists. Tuthill hit at a .393 clip, scoring 12 kills. Freshman Jenny Simon assisted on eight of Loyola’s 38 kills.
In the match against Dillard (7-4), an ace by Stansberry gave the Wolfpack a 6-1 lead in set one. A kill by Tuthill put the game at 15-7 LU, then Loyola doubled up the Lady Bleu Devils at 20-10 on an ace by Worsham. Lindsay Mullinix ended the game at 25-16 with a kill.
Loyola held a narrow lead early in the second set until Alex Blitzer served an ace to give the ‘Pack a 21-18 advantage. Following a kill by Worsham, Gill served an ace to put the set at game-point, 24-19. Dillard answered with five straight points, tying the game at 24 with a block. With the set tied at 26, DU closed out the set with two attack errors, giving the Wolfpack a 28-26 victory in extra points.
The Lady Bleu Devils led early in the third game, going up 6-2 on a Wolfpack error. Dillard continued to lead until Gill gave Loyola the lead for the first time at 15-14 on a kill. Loyola then went on a 7-0 run which included two aces by Gill. A serving error by DU would end the match as Loyola took the third and final set 25-19.
Gill led the ‘Pack with 14 kills, 16 digs, and four aces. Tuthill had eight kills and Mullinix finished with six. Oldani served three aces and added 13 digs. Worsham was tops in assists with 19 while Simon chipped in with 12.
Loyola wraps up the classic on Saturday with matches against Xavier and West Alabama. The first match is at 1 p.m. against the Gold Nuggets with the contest against UWA slated for 5 p.m.