Gold Nuggets’ season ends again in national semifinals

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MOBILE, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana women’s tennis lost 5-2 Friday to Keiser in the semifinals of the NAIA National Championship tournament.

The Gold Nuggets (19-6), ranked and seeded third, fell to 0-5 in the national semifinals — all in the last seven seasons — but still had an outstanding season. Their winning percentage was their best since 2002, remarkable considering that XULA won 13-of-15 duals against ranked opponents.

Angela Charles-Alfred won in doubles for singles for XULA. She and Charlene Goreau, No. 4 in the Oracle ITA/NAIA doubles rankings, teamed for a 9-8 (8-6) victory against No. 3 Sarah Schaerer and Lorene Foerste. Charles-Alfred won 6-1, 6-0 against Dugleisy Linarez on the third singles court to cut the Seahawks’ lead to 3-2.

But Keiser (21-4), ranked and seeded second, then got victories from Aleksandra Grela and Anais Gabriel to advance to the final for the second consecutive year. Grela defeated Farah Baklouti 6-2, 6-2 on the fourth court, and Gabriel clinched on court one with her 6-3, 6-4 victory against Goreau.

Baklouti and Borodii suffered their first loss of the season as a doubles team after 21 consecutive victories — 8-3 to Grela and Emma Henriksen.

Keiser will play three-time defending champion Georgia Gwinnett for the title at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Grizzlies defeated William Carey 5-0 in the other semifinal. Georgia Gwinnett defeated Keiser 5-2 in the 2018 final.

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