Saturday, May 7, 2016

No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett beats No. 3 Xavier 5-1 in final

LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia — Top-ranked Georgia Gwinnett defeated No. 3 Xavier University of Louisiana 5-1 Friday in the championship round of an NAIA men's tennis unaffiliated group tournament.

The Grizzlies (22-0) won 2-of-3 doubles matches, then closed the dual by winning at the bottom three singles flights. Lachlan McPhee clinched with a 7-5, 6-2 victory against Tushar Mandlekar at No. 5.

The only victory for the Gold Rush (14-7) was at No. 2 doubles. Kyle Montrel and Karan Salwan defeated the ITA's third-ranked NAIA tandem, Matias Hatem and Connor Clements, 9-8 (7-5).

"This was a hard-fought match," XU coach Alan Green said. "Gwinnett is a great team and will be favored to win nationals. We played tough in portions of the match, but Gwinnett had answers for everything. They showed why they are the No. 1 team in the nation."

The loss was Xavier's first this season to an NAIA opponent. The Gold Rush have four victories this season against top-10 teams.

The victory was the 28th in a row for Georgia Gwinnett, the NAIA champion in 2015 and 2014, and secured for the Grizzlies an automatic bid to the national tournament. Xavier, a national quarterfinalist each of the past four seasons, likely will earn its eighth consecutive bid to nationals and its fifth first-round bye in the last six years. The NAIA will announce its next top 25 poll and the 24 national-tournament qualifiers Monday, then announce the pairings Tuesday. The NAIA National Championship will begin May 17 at Mobile, Ala.

Both Xavier and Georgia Gwinnett won 5-0 in the semifinals Friday. The Gold Rush defeated IU Southeast, and the Grizzlies beat 25th-ranked Asbury. Kevin Chaouat and Thomas Setodji won in doubles and singles for Xavier, and Setodji clinched with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Jacob Rankin.


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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