NAIA awards 1st-round byes to both XULA tennis teams
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana men’s tennis has earned another first-round bye in the NAIA National Championship tournament at Mobile, Ala.
The NAIA announced Tuesday that the Gold Rush (14-8) are seeded seventh and will play a Kentucky opponent — Union (12-8) or Asbury (13-3) — in the round of 16 at 9 a.m. May 15 at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center (851 Gaillard Drive, zip code 36608, phone 251-208-5181). Admission is free for every round.
Union, the No. 10 seed, and 23rd-seeded Asbury will play in the first round at 8:30 a.m. May 14. Twenty-four teams qualified.
The Gold Rush have received eight first-round byes in the last nine seasons. This is XULA’s 11th consecutive appearance at nationals and 11th overall.
XULA and Georgia Gwinnett are the only NAIA men’s teams to reach the national semifinals each of the last three seasons. Georgia Gwinnett is five-time defending champion; the Grizzlies defeated the Gold Rush in the 2016 and 2017 finals and the 2018 semifinals.
XULA’s No. 7 seeding is the same as its position in the most recent coaches poll, but an NAIA selection committee shuffled four of the top eight seeds. Sixth-seeded Middle Georgia and eighth-seeded Keiser both fell two spots from their poll positions. Fourth-seeded Point climbed from fifth, and fifth-seeded William Carey climbed from eighth.
Leading the Gold Rush is freshman Santiago Perez, No. 2 in the Oracle ITA NAIA singles rankings. He’ll enter nationals with a 16-match win streak. Perez and Shaikh Abdullah are ranked sixth in doubles.
XULA is 5-5 this season against top-25 opponents, including home victories against William Carey and ninth-seeded William Woods. The Gold Rush have not played Union since losing 5-0 to the Bulldogs on April 11, 2009, in Rome, Ga. The XULA men never have faced Asbury.
Union scored a 5-3 neutral-site victory April 19 against Point, which won 5-4 at home against the Gold Rush March 30.
NEW ORLEANS — For the second consecutive year, Xavier University of Louisiana women’s tennis has the No. 3 seed and a first-round bye for the NAIA National Championship tournament at Mobile, Ala.
The NAIA announced Tuesday the pairings for the 24-team event.
The Gold Nuggets (17-5) will play Mobile (9-7) or Cumberlands (10-6) in the round of 16 at 1 p.m. May 15 at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center (851 Gaillard Drive, zip code 36608, phone 251-208-5181). Admission is free for every round.
Mobile, the No. 14 seed, and 19th-seeded Cumberlands will play at 1:30 p.m. May 14.
The tournament’s top seven seeds — three-time defending champion Georgia Gwinnett, Keiser, XULA, William Carey, SCAD Savannah, William Woods and Middle Georgia — are in the same positions as they were in the most recent coaches poll.
XULA won 8-1 April 18 at Mobile. The Gold Nuggets and Cumberlands have not met since XULA’s 5-3 victory Feb. 17, 2017, in the Grizzly Invitational at Lawrenceville, Ga.
Among the Gold Nuggets’ leaders are Charlene Goreau — the team’s only senior — and sophomores Mariia Borodii and Angela Charles-Alfred, all in the top 20 of the most recent Oracle ITA NAIA singles rankings. Goreau is ranked third, Borodii sixth and Charles-Alfred 19th.
This will be the Gold Nuggets’ 13th appearance at nationals and their eighth in a row. They reached the national semifinals in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018. The 2013 team was the first at XULA in any sport to reach the NAIA’s national semifinals.
XULA has not played since a 4-3 victory April 20 at West Florida, then ranked 15th in NCAA Division II and currently 14th. The Gold Nuggets are 11-1 this season against top-25 opponents.
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