NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team will kick off play in the 2010 SSAC Tournament in Gulfport, Miss. on Friday Nov. 12, facing Southern Wesleyan at 3:30 p.m.
The Wolfpack finished the regular season with a 25-13 overall record and placed second in the SSAC West Division at 6-2, trailing Spring Hill who finished at 7-1. The 25 wins this year is the second most for LU since 2003.
Loyola heads into the post-season on a hot streak, compiling a 14-4 record since the beginning of October which includes winning 11 of their final 13 matches. Of the 14 victories, the ‘Pack won 11 matches in straight sets while three of their four losses were against NCAA schools.
For the tournament, Lee University, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA with a perfect 32-0 record, opens up against Faulkner University while Spring Hill, the top team in the West, will face Columbia College. Loyola will play Southern Wesleyan for the second time this season while Mobile and Shorter wrap up the opening round. If Loyola advances, they will face the winner of Lee/Faulkner on Saturday at 10 a.m. for a spot in the championship game, which is set to start at 6 p.m. on Saturday as well.
Earlier this season, the Wolfpack came away with a 3-1 victory against Southern Wesleyan at the Faulkner Invitational on Oct. 8. The Warriors finished the year with a 19-12 record and were 5-5 in the SSAC. Middle blocker Amber Garrett leads SWU with 338 kills (2.9 k/s).
Three-time SSAC Player of the Week Gina Gill leads the way for Loyola after putting together one of the best seasons in program history. Gill, a junior outside hitter from Baton Rouge, La., has 631 kills (4.5 k/s) on the year, which currently ranks second in the NAIA. She also ranks in the top 10 in aces with 71.
Sophomore outside hitter Kailey Tuthill and freshman middle blocker Sabrina Stansberry are next in kills for the Wolfpack, tallying 334 and 256 respectively. Tuthill, from Colorado Springs, Colo., has reached double-digit kills in 13 matches including a career-best 19 in LU’s win over Spring Hill. Stansberry, out of Baton Rouge, La., had a season-best 14 kills on Sept. 4 and leads the ‘Pack in hitting (.298) and blocks (86).
Sophomore setter Samantha Worsham, who was named all-conference last season, leads the Wolfpack with 1,264 assists on the year. Worsham currently ranks 17th in the NAIA in total assists while placing second in the SSAC with 9.2 per game. She set a new personal best this season with 57 in a win over Bethel on Oct. 9 and sits at fourth on LU’s single season list.
Junior libero Amanda Oldani anchors the back row, pacing the team with 562 digs (4.0 d/s). Oldani, from New Braunfels, Texas, matched her career-best with 29 digs this season and has chipped in with 60 aces.
All of the SSAC volleyball tournament games will be held at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-Jefferson Davis Campus. Live stats will be available here.