Gold Nuggets win HBCU national team title, 3 finals

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ORLANDO, Fla. — For the first time ever, Xavier University of Louisiana is the queen of HBCU women’s tennis.

The Gold Nuggets won three finals Saturday and their first overall team title of the HBCU National Championships at USTA National Campus.

The Gold Rush won one final and finished second in men’s team scoring.

“To see our women finally win the overall championship is a great feeling,” 16th-year XULA coach Alan Green said. “All of the ladies contributed to this team win. It was a roller coaster weekend for us, but we finished the job.”

All of XULA’s finals victories occurred against NCAA Division I Morgan State. Yi Chen Pao, a junior and an NAIA All-American last season, was a double winner. Pao, a No. 3 seed, defeated Oriane Yehouenou 6-1, 6-0 for the women’s C-flight singles title, then teamed with Charlene Goreau to win 6-3 in the B-flight doubles final against Averiana Mitchell and Dana Santiago.

Pao and Goreau were a No. 1 seed. In singles, Pao did not lose a set in defeating four NCAA Division I opponents in three days.

XULA won both A-flight doubles finals. Third-seeded Mariia Borodii and Farah Baklouti did it for the Nuggets with a 6-4 victory against fourth-seeded Peggy Rooke and Asmara Faluki, and Shaikh Abdullah and Santiago Perez earned a title for the Rush with a 6-3 decision against Shrey Gupta and Nihit Rawal.

Perez is a freshman who made his XULA debut in this tournament.

“The men played well and fought hard. And we had some great doubles matches this weekend,” Green said. “I’m really looking forward to what these guys can do next spring because we have a lot of potential to be great.”

It was the second fall tournament for the XULA women and the first for the men. The Gold Nuggets and Gold Rush will conclude their fall schedule on their campus in the XULA Invitational Oct. 12-14.

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