XULA men are national runnerup for 3rd time in 4 years

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MOBILE, Ala. — For the third time in four years, Xavier University of Louisiana men’s tennis is the NAIA national runner-up after a 5-0 loss Saturday morning to Georgia Gwinnett in the tournament final.

Men’s tennis is the only XULA sport to reach the final of an NAIA national championship team event. The Gold Rush also finished second in 2016 and 2017 . . . and all the losses were against Georgia Gwinnett.

The Grizzlies (27-0) won their sixth consecutive national title, finished unbeaten for the fourth consecutive season and won a dual match for the 109th consecutive time. They’ve never lost to an NAIA opponent — their three losses in seven seasons are to NCAA Division II teams; the most recent was April 3, 2015.

“Georgia Gwinnett is just too good for everybody — not just us,” XULA coach Alan Green said.

Still it was a remarkable finish for the Gold Rush (17-9), the lowest seeded team (seventh) ever to reach an NAIA men’s final. XULA got there with three victories against top-10 seeds: No. 10 Union (Ky.) in the round of 16, No. 2 Reinhardt in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Cardinal Stritch in the semifinals.

“It was a fun ride with our guys,” Green said. “We weren’t supposed to be in the final. It’s a little more rewarding because of where we came from. Our guys did more than what I asked of them.”

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