Saturday, May 21, 2016

XULA Rush beat Blue Raiders to advance to national final

MOBILE, Alabama — Xavier University of Louisiana men's tennis took another step forward and made history Friday by defeating Lindsey Wilson 5-3 in the semifinals of the NAIA National Championship.
The Gold Rush (17-7), ranked and seeded third, became the first XU team in any sport to reach an NAIA championship final. Xavier will play top-seeded and two-time defending champion Georgia Gwinnett (25-0) for the title at 1 p.m. Saturday at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center.
 "Fifteen down, five to go," XU coach Alan Green said. "That's how we've looked at this tournament all week — be the team that wins 20 matches (in four duals)."
Kyle Montrel and Tushar Mandlekar won in doubles and singles for Xavier. Montrel earned two victories for the second consecutive day and clinched with a 6-4, 6-3 victory against Alonso Tellez on the third singles court.
Mandlekar won the final 12 games in a 6-3, 6-0 victory against Tomas Depiaggio at No. 5. The other XU singles victory was by freshman Thomas Setodji, who is 17-0 after his 6-1, 6-4 decision against Raul Mendez on the second court.
Xavier won 2-of-3 doubles matches for the third consecutive day. Mandlekar and Adam Albrecht beat Javier Raya and Depiaggio 8-4, and Montrel and Karan Salwan won 8-5 against Tellez and Ignacio Huertas.
Denis Porcic won on the first courts in doubles and singles for the Blue Raiders (17-4). He and Mendez rallied from a 7-6 deficit for a 9-8 (7-4) victory against Setodji and Kevin Chaouat. Then Porcic beat Salwan 6-2, 6-4 to tie the dual at 3.
Like Xavier, Lindsey Wilson was in its first semifinal after being eliminated in the quarterfinals each of the previous four seasons.
"No match in the tournament has been easy, despite what the scores indicate," Green said. "But we've worked hard all year and played very well this week to give ourselves a chance to win a national title."
Georgia Gwinnett beat fifth-seeded Dalton State 5-0 in the other semifinal for its 31st consecutive victory. The Grizzlies won 5-1 at home against Xavier May 6 in the championship of an NAIA unaffiliated group tournament.
"We'll have to play better this time, and hopefully Georgia Gwinnett will not play as well this time," Green said. "And the weather will have to be super hot."

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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