Friday, March 29, 2013

XU Nuggets 7-0 vs. ranked teams after beating Embry-Riddle

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Xavier University of Louisiana's women's tennis team defeated Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 7-2 Thursday to remain unbeaten this season against ranked NAIA opponents.

The Gold Nuggets, ranked eighth, are 11-7 overall but 7-0 against ranked teams. The XU women won against a top-10 team for the second time ever and the first time in eight years. Embry-Riddle (6-8) is ranked seventh and was the NAIA runner-up a year ago.

Embry-Riddle's second-ranked men defeated eighth-ranked Xavier 8-1.

Kourtney Howell and Amanda Materre, both losers in singles Wednesday in the Nuggets' victory against Northwood (Fla.), bounced back with doubles and singles victories against Embry-Riddle. Materre and Olivia West scored first in the dual with an 8-2 doubles victory against Ana Gonzalez-Hoy and Meena Bennett. Howell and Brion Flowers, No. 12 in the ITA's NAIA doubles rankings, followed with an 8-5 victory against fourth-ranked Hui-I Huang and Kristina Marova.

The Nuggets won 5-of-6 singles matches, including Howell's 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) victory against Huang -- the reigning NAIA Player of the Week -- and Materre's 7-5, 6-1 decision over Paola Montero. Freshman Vashni Balleste clinched the dual with her 6-3, 6-2 victory against Bennett at No. 6.

Also winning for Xavier was Simone-Alyse Ewell in a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory against Giovanna Tomiotto and Amber Brown in a 6-0, 6-1 decision over Gonzalez-Hoy.

Xavier is the first NAIA women's team since 2009 to win at Embry-Riddle.

"The Nuggets put it all together today and played very well. This is the best they played this season," XU coach Alan Green said. "It shows what they are capable of when the entire team is involved in the match -- whether they are playing or cheering. We had great team spirit today, and the girls fed off each other."

In the men's dual, Viktor Svoboda scored the lone point for the Gold Rush (10-6). Svoboda won his eighth consecutive singles match, a 6-4, 6-3 decision against Miguel Lopez Gomez. Chris Freeman and Deni Zmak won in doubles and singles for the Eagles (13-2), and Zmak clinched with his 6-1, 6-1 victory against Loic Didavi at the top singles flight.

"Embry-Riddle is, in my opinion, the best team in the nation," Green said. "Our guys competed, but Embry-Riddle was just too much for us today."

Embry-Riddle snapped Xavier's season-high four-dual win streak. Four of the Gold Rush losses are to teams in the top seven in the most recent coaches poll.

The Gold Nuggets finished 3-0 and the Gold Rush 2-1 in their spring-break trip to Florida. Next duals for both will be at 3 p.m. on April 5 -- one week from Friday -- at William Carey, whose women are ranked second and men are sixth. The next XU home duals will start at 2 p.m. on April 6 against Auburn Montgomery and its top-ranked men and third-ranked women.

Results: Men Women

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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