Tuesday, May 10, 2016

No. 3 Rush first in line for at-large bid nationals

NEW ORLEANS — For the second consecutive year, Xavier University of Louisiana has secured the first at-large bid to the NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship.

Xavier (14-7) remained No. 3 in the coaches poll announced Monday afternoon, then learned 90 minutes later it was among the 24 teams to qualify for nationals.

The Gold Rush qualified for nationals for the eighth consecutive year and the eighth time overall.

The NAIA National Championships will be played May 17-21 at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. It will be Mobile's 13th consecutive year as host. The NAIA will announce seedings and the bracket Tuesday.

Xavier is 8-1 this season against NAIA opponents, 4-1 against the top 10. The Gold Rush have a pair of victories against No. 9 William Carey and one each against No. 4 Northwestern Ohio and No. 6 Keiser. The Gold Rush lost 5-1 Friday at No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett — the two-time defending national champion — in an NAIA unaffiliated group tournament.

The top-25 appearance is the Gold Rush's 76th in a row. That streak began April 4, 2007. The XU men are in the top 10 for the 46th consecutive time; that streak began May 3, 2011.

Georgia Gwinnett is a unanimous No. 1 for the 17th consecutive poll, dating to the 2014 postseason rankings.

The lowest-ranked team to earn an at-large bid was No. 20 Warner.

NAIA Men's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll

1. Georgia Gwinnett
2. Auburn Montgomery
3. Xavier
4. Northwestern Ohio
5. Dalton State
6. Keiser
7. Lindsey Wilson
8. Coastal Georgia
9. William Carey
10. Aquinas
11. Cardinal Stritch
12. Lewis-Clark State
13. Reinhardt
14. Westmont
15. McPherson
16. Olivet Nazarene
17. Mobile
18. Cumberlands
19. Bethany (Kan.)
20. Warner
21. Middle Georgia
22. Pikeville
23. Campbellsville
24. Tennessee Wesleyan
25. IU Southeast

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director


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