Wednesday, January 27, 2016
No. 4 NAIA ranking is best in Xavier Gold Rush history
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana men's tennis was No. 4 Tuesday — its highest NAIA ranking ever — in the first national coaches poll of 2016.
The Gold Rush were 13-8 a year ago and reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Championship for the fourth consecutive year. Xavier returns five lettermen, led by three-year All-American Kyle Montrel. He and newcomer Karan Salwan are in the top 10 of the ITA's NAIA preseason singles rankings.
The previous best ranking by a Gold Rush team was fifth three times in 2013, including the postseason poll. Xavier was sixth in the final seven polls of 2015.
The XU men are in the top 25 for the 69th consecutive time — that streak began April 4, 2007 — and in the top 10 for the 39th consecutive time. Additional streaks are 60 straight appearances in the top 20 and 45 times in a row in the top 15.
Two-time defending champion Georgia Gwinnett received all 12 first-place votes. Auburn Montgomery is second, and Lindsey Wilson is third. Already announced XU opponents in the top 25 are No. 5 Northwestern Ohio (March 29 at Xavier) and No. 7 William Carey (Feb. 6 at Xavier, March 4 at Hattiesburg, Miss.).
The Gold Rush, 0-2 after a pair of losses Jan. 18 at Louisiana-Lafayette, will play city rival Loyola at 10 a.m. Saturday at XU Tennis Center. Xavier's women will open their spring schedule against Loyola at the same site and time. Admission is free to all XU home tennis events.
NAIA Men's Tennis Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll
1. Georgia Gwinnett
2. Auburn Montgomery
3. Lindsey Wilson
5. Northwestern Ohio
6. San Diego Christian
7. William Carey
8. Coastal Georgia
9. Dalton State
13. Bethany (Kan.)
17. Cardinal Stritch
18. Olivet Nazarene
20. Lewis-Clark State
21. SCAD Savannah
24. Marian (Ind.)
25. Tennessee Wesleyan