Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gold Rush blank Colonels, hold steady at No. 2 in NAIA

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's men's tennis program, no stranger in recent years to milestones, produced another Tuesday in a 4-0 home victory against Nicholls State.

It was the first time the Gold Rush (2-2) defeated a non-HBCU member of NCAA Division I without losing a match.

"The guys played well," XULA coach Alan Green said. "They got off to a slow start on a couple of courts but overcame a couple of fired-up Nicholls guys."

After Antoine Richard defeated Bernard Wezeman 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles for the first point of the dual, Karan Salwan and Moses Micheal extended the XULA lead to 3-0 despite losing first sets. Salwan rallied to beat Oleksander Podgursky 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3, and Micheal roared back to top Sam Meessen 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2.

Then Tushar Mandlekar clinched when he beat Cornelius Schramm 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5.

XULA was in control of the unfinished matches, too. Catalin Fifea at No. 4 and Oran Reznick at No. 6 both were up a set when the dual was halted. The doubles matches were not played. Nicholls is 1-2.

XULA extended its home win streak to 15 duals. Five of the victories in that streak are against DIs.

The second NAIA coaches poll of 2017 was announced while XULA played, and the Gold Rush remained No. 2. It was the NAIA-leading 79th consecutive top-25 appearance for the XULA men — that streak started 10 years ago — and the 49th consecutive top-10 in a streak that began in 2011.

Next for the Gold Rush will be the Grizzly Invitational at Lawrenceville, Ga. The XULA women will play Friday at 11 a.m. against NAIA No. 3 Keiser and at 5 p.m. against Cumberlands, Saturday at 5 p.m. against Emory — second-ranked in NCAA Division III — and Sunday at 10 a.m. against top-ranked and three-time defending NAIA champion Georgia Gwinnett. All times are Eastern. The Georgia Gwinnett dual will be a rematch of last season's national final, which the Grizzlies won 5-2. XULA's women also will play four times in this event, including three matchups with top-10 NAIA teams.

"This weekend is going to be huge for both our teams," Green said. "We are about to find out what we're about."


Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

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