New Orleans, La. – Xavier University, the four-time defending Gulf Coast Athletic Conference champion, has been picked to win the 2015 GCAC volleyball championship, based on a poll of the league’s coaches.

Xavier finished the 2014 season with a 20-6 overall record and a 14-0 record in the GCAC. It was Xavier’s fourth consecutive season without a conference loss. The Gold Nuggets have won their last 48 regular season conference matches as well as the GCAC tournament in each of the last four years. They received six of the seven first place votes. Southern University at New Orleans earned a single first place vote. The Lady Knights have finished second to Xavier each year during the streak.

SUNO finished second in the poll with 39 points, followed by Dillard University with 31 points. Philander Smith College was in fourth place with 27 points and Talladega College received 21 points to finish fifth. Tougaloo College (19 points) and Edward Waters College (12 points) round out the poll in sixth and seventh place respectively.

Seven student-athletes were selected to the 2015 Preseason Volleyball All-GCAC Team. The team includes Xavier’s Claudia Haywood and Franziska Pirkl, Dillard’s Astasia Williams and Shelby Stewart, Chassidy Harris of Tougaloo, along with Talladega’s Carla Novaes and Zyra Wright of Philander Smith.

Haywood and Novaes tied for Preseason Player of the Year. Last season both players were members of the All-GCAC First Team.

The 2015 GCAC volleyball season begins with SUNO visiting Concordia College – Selma on August 21. GCAC play begins the following weekend as Edward Waters hosts Tougaloo as part of the EWC 2015 Fall Volleyball Classic.

Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Poll (First place votes)

Place School Points
1. Xavier (6) 47
2. SUNO (1) 39
3. Dillard 31
4. Philander Smith 27
5. Talladega 21
6. Tougaloo 19
7. Edward Waters 12


Volleyball Preseason All-GCAC Team

Name School Pos. Yr. Ht. Hometown
Chassidy Harris Tougaloo MB SO 6-1 Friendswood, Texas
Claudia Haywood Xavier MB SR 5-11 Memphis, Tenn.
Carla Novaes Talladega OH JR 6-1 Sao Paulo, Brazil
Franziska Pirkl Xavier S SR 5-9 Munich, Germany
Shelby Stewart Dillard MB SO 6-0 Houston, Texas
Astasia Williams Dillard S SR 5-9 Baton Rouge, La.
Zyra Wright Philander Smith OH SR 5-7 Dallas, Texas


GCAC Preseason Player of the Year (tie)

Name School Yr. Hometown
Claudia Haywood Xavier SR Memphis, Tenn.
Carla Novaes Talladega JR Sao Paulo, Brazil


Returning 2014 Award Winners

School Player Award(s)
Philander Smith Zyra Wright All-GCAC First Team
Philander Smith Victoria Hicks All-GCAC Second Team
SUNO Jana Reininghaus All-GCAC First Team
SUNO Milica Golubovic All-GCAC Second Team
SUNO Ana Privat All-GCAC Second Team
Talladega Carla Novaes All-GCAC First Team, Newcomer of the Year
Tougaloo Chassidy Harris All-GCAC Second Team, Freshman of the Year
Xavier Claudia Haywood All-GCAC First Team
Xavier Franziska Pirkl All-GCAC First Team
Xavier Darian Harris All-GCAC Second Team

Courtesy: GCAC


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