Monday, September 19, 2016
Rush win 2 doubles titles, repeat as HBCU team champ
COLLEGE PARK, Georgia — Xavier University of Louisiana won a pair of doubles titles Saturday to help the Gold Rush repeat as men's team champion in the 16th annual HBCU National Tennis Championships.
The four-man XULA squad finished two points ahead of Florida A&M. XULA was the only NAIA member in the 17-school event. Thirteen teams were from NCAA Division I, and three were from NCAA Division II.
"We obviously did not have the deepest lineup here," said 14th-year XULA coach Alan Green, whose Gold Rush were the NAIA national runner-up in May, "but our four guys competed hard for three straight days and found a way to get it done. I could not be prouder of the effort they gave."
Thomas Setodji and Karan Salwan defeated Bluefield State's Anthony Braem and Alexander Rudeco 8-3 in the A-bracket doubles final. Tushar Mandlekar and Adam Albrecht won the B-bracket in an 8-6 decision against North Carolina Central's Sebastian Bromley and Brooks Campbell.
Salwan, Mandlekar and Albrecht repeated as HBCU doubles champions. A year ago Salwan won the A-bracket with Mandlekar, and Albrecht and then-senior Manav Chakmawon the B-bracket.
Also winning an individual title was senior Sha'Nel Bruins, who prevailed in the women's singles consolation B-bracket in an 8-6 decision against Bethune-Cookman's Phatsimo Ruele.
The Gold Rush produced a pair of singles runner-ups. Setodji lost 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 to NC Central's Gabriel Cucalon in the A-bracket final, and Mandlekar lost 6-0, 6-1 to FAMU's Courage Okungbowa in the B-bracket final. Cucalon ended Salwan's bid for a second consecutive A-bracket title with a 6-3, 6-1 decision in the semifinals.
"When you look back on how our guys scored their points, a huge match was when Adam and Tush won in the doubles quarterfinals," Green said. "They saved two match points and came back and won in a tiebreaker. If we don't win that match, we don't repeat as team champion."
XULA will return to Georgia next week for its second fall event, the USTA/ITA NAIA South Regional Chamoionships at Lawrenceville. That tournament will begin Friday.