Sunday, April 29, 2018

Virginia State University Trojans Football’s all-time leading rusher,Trenton Cannon drafted by New York Jets

ARLINGTON, Texas  – Virginia State's running back Trenton Cannon was selected by the New York Jets with 204th pick overall in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
"I can't believe I am a New York Jet," said Cannon. "This is what I have worked for and dreamed of since I was a kid. I have been working hard to get to this moment. I want to thank Virginia State University's Head Football Coach Reggie Barlow and the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to shine on the field and believing in me. Trojan Nation, I want to thank you for all the love and support. It's my turn. Thank you so much to everyone who believed in me and helped me get to today, but the work has just begun. New York, let's get to work."

Trenton Cannon has received numerous accolades for his outstanding performance this season. Cannon was selected to play in the 2018 National Football League Player Association Collegiate bowl that took place on January 20. Cannon led the Trojans to an undefeated regular season, piling up 245 all-purpose yards per game. In addition, he was named the CIAA Offensive Player of the Year, and was the second consecutive VSU player to take home the Lanier award. The Lanier award is given to the best small-college player. Trenton received the Offensive Back of the Year honor by the Touchdown Club of Richmond. Cannon lead the CIAA in overall rushing yards this season (1,387) and rushing yards per game (154.1). He also produced 14 touchdowns on the season. Out of the ten-week regular season, the Hampton, VA native earned five Offensive Back of the Week honors. Trenton is currently VSU's All-Time Rusher with a total of 3,780 yards.

For his college career he played in 38 games (25 starts), rushed for 4,246 yards (7.1 yards/carry) and 46 touchdowns, caught 51 passes for 638 more yards and seven more TDs, and also averaged 32.6 yards/kickoff return with three TD returns the last two seasons.

Cannon turned a 4.40 time in the 40 at his pro day.

Cannon is only the second player taken from Virginia State, with the first, DB Jim Williams, selected in Round 7 of the 1970 draft.

Cannon joins a Jets organization that is looking to overcome back-to-back seasons of going 5-11 and finishing last in the AFC East.


MEAC Produces NFL Highest FCS Draft Pick, Darius Leonard, South Carolina State University Bulldogs

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The first FCS player selected came out of the MEAC when the Indianapolis Colts picked outside linebacker Darius Leonard in the second round (36th overall) Friday night.

There were no draft selections from the Big South Conference, the Pioneer Football League and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Ten of the 13 FCS conferences had at least one player selected in this year’s NFL Draft.

CAA Football, the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Southland Conference led the way with three selections. The CAA increased its total in the 2010s to 25, breaking from a tie with the Southern Conference for the most in the FCS.

The Ivy League, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and Ohio Valley Conference had two selections each. The Big Sky Conference, Northeast Conference, Patriot League and Southern Conference had one each.

2018 NFL Draft: Round 2

33. Cleveland Browns: Austin Corbett, OL, Nevada
34. New York Giants: Will Hernandez, OL, UTEP
35. Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
36. Indianapolis Colts: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State
37. Indianapolis Colts: Braden Smith, T, Auburn
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronald Jones II, RB, USC


Grambling's Carter goes undrafted, heads to Redskins on free agent deal

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- The 2018 NFL Draft put Martez Carter's time-killing skills to the test.

Playing the card game Uno with his family and friends, grabbing quick cat-naps while tuned in to the near, seven-hour long marathon at a watch party at his home with his family, the former Grambling State running back ultimately did not hear his name called by a franchise.

But his free agent wait didn't last a fraction of the time as his wait on the Day 3 of the Draft Saturday. Less than 30 minutes after the last pick was announced, Carter decided to join the Washington Redskins on an undrafted free agent deal.

"It's been a long day. My agent insisted that we wait until after I get the call today to the simple fact of how the running back position was going," Carter said. "At the end of the day, I was able to get a call and it was a great call. It's been a long day, I'm just glad it's adjourned, I'm glad it came to an end with some positive results.

"Not getting drafted was a bummer. But I feel like everything happens for a reason. When it all boils down to it, today was still a great day for me. I got a call and I still have an opportunity to play football on the next level. I didn't walk away from this thing empty-handed. I feel like today wasn't a wasted day. It could've been way better, but you can only ask for so much and the way the chips fell, I'll pick them all up, stack them up again and see how they fall on the next level."

The Monroe native was being courted as a free agent by the reigning Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, among a few others, after the Draft concluded but chose to head to the nation's capitol. Carter will report to the Redskins on May 10.


Draft recap: Grambling State trio earn UFA deals after NFL Draft

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- The excruciating long weekend of the NFL Draft and the intense wait games it brings with it for the players has come and gone.

Now, it's time to decompress.

All the smoke from the bells and whistles has cleared and initially on the other side, three former Grambling State football players find themselves getting the opportunity to play on the professional level. After going undrafted, the trio didn't have to wait long to reach free agent deals Saturday night.

Here's a shakedown of where the former Bulldogs are heading:

Running back Martez Carter

Day 3 of the NFL Draft was a long "on edge" day for Martez Carter and his family. The former Grambling State star running back had been projected to be a sixth or seventh round selection, but that didn't pan out after tuning into the near, seven-hour long marathon.


QB play highlights UAPB spring game

PINE BLUFF, Arkansas -- Silent for about an hour, the Golden Lions' first touchdown of the Cedric Thomas era was loud enough.

Junior quarterback Shannon Patrick lofted a pass and hit junior wide receiver Kolby McNeal in stride for a 62-yard touchdown just 23.6 seconds before halftime in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's spring football game Saturday afternoon at Golden Lions Stadium.


Patrick, who transferred from Northland (Minn.) Community College this spring, introduced himself to a UAPB program that was making its debut under Thomas.

"Just overwhelmed," said Thomas, a UAPB alum who played cornerback from 1998-1999. "This is the first time that it just actually hit me that I'm the head coach back at my school. Just seeing the people in the stands that could've been doing anything in the world this Saturday. But they came to fellowship with us as a Golden Lions family, and that was just a blessing. That was the most exciting thing about it."

Patrick's touchdown spurred further excitement, and it was one of two touchdowns in the Black and Gold game that ended in an arbitrary 7-7 tie after three quarters. An undisclosed offensive lineman suffered a minor ankle injury, Thomas said, and he didn't want to risk further injury.

Defense dominated in the opening six drives of the scrimmage, which included six sacks, but then Patrick found McNeal wide open in the middle of the field.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Raiders Select N.C. A&T's Brandon Parker In Third Round Of 2018 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After trading the No. 75 overall pick, the No. 152 overall pick and No. 212 pick to the Baltimore Ravens, the Oakland Raiders selected North Carolina A&T tackle Brandon Parker with the No. 65 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

A top of NFL prospect, the 2017 preseason accolades poured in … Earned STATS first-team All-American honors after the 2016 season … Earned his second straight MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year award … Also earned his second straight Black College Football All-American honor from the American Urban Radio Networks … He is a three-time All-MEAC selection, twice being named first-team all-conference … Behind Parker the Aggies have the MEAC’s No. 1 rushing offense for three straight seasons … In 2017, the Aggies ranked No. 1 in the conference in 3rd down conversion, total first downs, rushing offense, scoring offense, fewest tackles for loss allowed, fewest sacks allowed and total offense … Has never surrendered a sack in his career … Enters his fourth straight season as the Aggies starting left tackle … Has only been called for four penalties in his career … Has played in 35 straight games with 35 straight starts … Was the first Aggie to win MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year since Qasim Mitchell did it in 2001 … He and Mitchell are the only two linemen in program history to win the honor from the MEAC … Has good speed, good length and plays hard on each down … Has the longest reach on the team at 107 ½ inches … Has gotten stronger and increased his weight during his time at N.C. A&T … Can bench press 225 pounds 20 times in one set … Improved his bench press max from 340 to 360 pounds … Also has a squat max of 510 pounds … Came to N.C. A&T with a talented class that also included record-breaking players such as Tarik Cohen, Denzel Keyes and Cody Jones … His sister Jasmine played for the Aggies women’s basketball team ... Has started all 36 games played.

2016 Season: Started all 12 games … Earned offensive lineman of the week five times from the MEAC … Was in on 779 gradable plays with 48 total knockdowns and an average grade of 87 percent. He graded out at higher than 90 percent five times … Offensively, the Aggies had the No. 1 total offense, rushing offense and third rated passing offense in the conference … A&T also allowed the fewest sacks, had running back Tarik Cohen break the school’s single-season rushing record (1,583) and quarterback Lamar Raynard break the school’s single-season completion percentage record (64.6) while leading the conference in completion percentage and passing efficiency (140.8).

2015 Season: Started all 12 games… Earned first-team All-MEAC honors along with being named MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year … Also earned All-American honors from American Urban Radio Networks and Boxtorow … Led the Aggies in pancake blocks and graded out well throughout the season… Graded out well at Florida A&M (Oct. 31) and against Alcorn State (Dec. 19).

2014 Season: Played in 12 games in 12 starts…Earned third-team All-MEAC honors as an offensive lineman…Graded out well against Florida A&M on Oct. 25 and Morgan State on Nov. 8…Helped quarterback Kwashaun Quick have his best passing season of his career by keeping him from being sacked.

High School: Led his team to an 8-4 record as a senior…Played three varsity seasons under Mike Newsome and Ron Massey at A.L. Brown, where he was a starter for two years...Ranked 46th in the state by Max Preps…His team averaged 287 yards rushing per game, and completed 62.4 percent of its passes...Graduated Cum Laude from A.L. Brown.

Personal: Full name is Brandon Malik Parker...He is the son of Curtis and Regina Parker...Was born on Oct. 21, 1995 ... Majors in electrical engineering.


Chickens & doodles: How GSU's Crumitie honed his speed, draws his inspiration

GRAMBLING, Louisiana -- Speed is home grown.

At his childhood home in the outskirts of Tallahassee, Florida, that’s where the story of Damien Crumitie’s windbreaking speed sprouted its origins. His father, David Crumitie Sr. owned three acres of farmland just outside the Sunshine State’s capital city and as a boy, Damien spent most of his afternoons after school in the yard with his dad and three brothers.

Like most kids, the quartet of Crumitie brothers rode 4-wheelers and played football. Damien, more than his brothers, helped his father with working on the land, cutting grass and helping in the garden. While spending so much time outside, and not much else to do in the rural area, Crumitie found a seemingly old-fashioned way to grow his speed.

“We chased chickens a lot so that helped my speed,” he recalled. “Running after chickens with my brothers. There’s really nothing to do out there in the country so that’s what we did. Out there working, riding lawnmowers, 4-wheelers and stuff. Playing backyard football in the sand barefoot. That’s how I really got better in defense and toughness, we were playing backyard football.

“It took like three times. It took a while to catch (a chicken), but I was good after that. I caught 10 chickens. We had like 15 out there, so I caught most of them. My oldest brother (David Crumitie Jr.) did it, too. I always tried to compete with him because he was the fastest one at the time. That’s what made me want to go out there, too, to chase chickens.”


Howard University Athletics Announces 125 Years of Football, Season Tickets, Camps and Clinics

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the spring semester wrapping up and student-athletes preparing for graduation, the Howard University Department of Athletics is preparing for a number of camps and clinics, football season ticket sales, and the 125th football fundraising campaign.

Nearly 26 years after Howard University opened its doors, collegiate football was established and HU welcomed a new kind of student to “The Mecca.” Today, 125 years later, Howard football boasts a legacy of historic wins and football standouts. In celebration and in honor of 125 years of Howard Football, the program has launched early bird season football tickets for $125. With each season ticket purchase, season ticket holders will receive reserved seating, discounted Circle City Classic fan pack rates, the homecoming VIP tent experience and homecoming parking. Additionally, fans can purchase vintage helmets ($250) and jerseys ($150). There is also the ongoing option of making a donation in support of the 125th football anniversary fund. (Purchase Season Tickets)

This summer, the University’s athletic teams are hosting various camps and clinics. Football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball and swimming and diving are providing opportunities for young talent to improve their skills. Under the guidance of head football coach Mike London, Bison football will host team camps and one-day prospect camps. Team camp will be held Friday, June 22, with one-day prospect camps that will feature coaching staffs from the University of Michigan, Boston College, Syracuse and the University of Massachusetts. Dates and campus focus vary. For more information, visit

Following their international competition in Africa, the Howard University women’s volleyball program will host a two-day college prospect camp on July 14 and July 15. To register, visit

The highly-anticipated men’s and women’s basketball programs will host camps. Men’s basketball will hosts the Kevin Nickelberry camps for ages 6-15 and 15-18. More information can be found at Women’s basketball will welcome 9th-12th graders to Burr Gymnasium on Saturday, Aug. 4, for the 2018 Ty Grace camps. Interested participants can enroll at

About Howard University Athletics

The Howard University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 19 NCAA Division I men and women varsity sports. The programs represent six conferences: the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA), Sun Belt Conference, Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Conference. Visit to learn more.

Friday, April 27, 2018

GCAC weekly awards for Riggs, Terry, August

Xavier University of Louisiana track and field

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Justyce Riggs (women's track), Alysia Terry (women's field) and Christopher August (men's track) are Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Players of the Week for April 16-22, the GCAC announced Tuesday.
Riggs, a sophomore from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and a graduate of Choctawhatchee High School, finished second in the 100-meter dash and fourth in 200 at the GCAC Championships this past weekend. She also helped the 400 relay team finish second in a school-record 46.45 seconds. Riggs's 200 time of 24.89 met the B-qualifying standard for the NAIA National Championships and is the Gold Nuggets' fastest time at this distance in four years.

Terry, a freshman from the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown, La., and a graduate of Ursuline Academy, became the first XULA woman since 2004 to win the triple jump at the GCAC meet. Her best mark was 11.38 meters/37 feet, 4 inches. Terry also placed eighth in the long jump and third in the 100 hurdles.

Riggs and Terry helped XULA repeat as GCAC women's team champion and score a women's-meet-record 258 points.

August, a senior from the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, and a graduate of Klein Collins High School, won the 5,000 and 10,000 at the GCAC meet and helped the 3,200 relay team finish first. August also placed fourth in the 1,500 and as part of the 1,600 relay. His 27 1/2 points helped XULA place second in the team standings — its best men's finish since 2004.

The GCAC weekly awards are the sixth of Riggs's season and career, the second of Terry's season and career and the first this season for August and the second of his career.

XULA will compete in two weeks in a last-chance meet at William Carey (Hattiesburg, Miss.), then travel to Gulf Shores, Ala., for NAIA nationals May 24-26.

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Track and field sweeps 2017-18 XULA Medals of Honor

Xavier University of Louisiana men's track and field

NEW ORLEANS — Track and field athletes Clarke Allen and Ammiel Williams were Xavier University of Louisiana's Medal of Honor recipients Wednesday evening during Athletic Honors Night, a department ceremony which honored all nine XULA teams.
The Medal of Honor was presented to the senior female and male student-athlete who best define the qualities of scholarship, athletics, leadership and service.

Allen, from Mendenhall, Miss., and a graduate of Mendenhall High School, is a two-time NAIA All-American and was All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference four consecutive years. This past weekend she scored in three events to help the Gold Nuggets repeat as GCAC team champion. A biology/pre-medical major, Allen is a two-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, a two-year member of the GCAC Honor Roll and a three-year member of XULA's Sister Grace Mary Flickinger Honor Roll. Allen was XULA's Female Junior Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2016-17.

Williams, a political science major from Los Angeles and a graduate of Hamilton High School, was part of the Gold Rush's GCAC-champion 3,200-meter relay team this past weekend, where he helped the XULA men score their highest conference finish in 14 years. He is a two-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, a three-time Flickinger Honor Roll member, and in 2016-17 he was XULA's Male Junior Scholar-Athlete of the Year. This past summer he participated in a research fellowship in the Public Policy & International Affairs program at Princeton University.  

Additional recipients were:
     •  Male Athlete of the Year:  Jeff Dixon, basketball (New Orleans/McMain High School and Delgado Community College . . . Finalists were Edward Angel, track and field (Fulshear, Texas/Seven Lakes High School) and Catalin Fifea, tennis (Bucharest, Romania/General School No. 31).
     •  Female Athlete of the Year:  Juliana Tomasoni, volleyball (Nova Trento, Brazil/Francisco Mazzola School and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College), who won this award for the second consecutive year . . . Finalists were Mariia Borodii, tennis (Zapozizhzhia, Ukraine/Specialized Phisicol N18) and Charlene Goreau, tennis (Toulouse, France/Raymond Naves School).

     •  Male Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year:  Williams.
     •  Female Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year:  Tomasoni.
     •  Male Junior Scholar-Athlete of the Year:  Gabriel Niculescu, tennis (Bucharest, Romania/A.D. Xenopol School).
     •  Female Junior Scholar-Athlete of the Year:  Mikayla Bates, basketball (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab School).
     •  Male Newcomer of the Year:  Angel . . . Finalists were Samir Chikhaoui, tennis (Lille, France/St. Remi School) and Joseph Williams, basketball (Memphis, Tenn./Lausanne Collegiate School).
     •  Female Newcomer of the Year:  Borodii . . . Finalists were Angela Charles-Alfred, tennis (Saint-Pierre, Martinique/Lycee de Bellefontaine) and Alysia Terry, track and field (Terrytown, La./Ursuline Academy).

XULA Vice President for Student Services Joseph Byrd received the Distinguished Service Award as thanks for his contributions to the department.

"Dean Byrd has meant a lot of things to a lot of people, but he has always made time for our student-athletes and staff," Director of Athletics & Recreation Jason Horn said, "whether it had to do with academics, personal issues or cheering our teams on to victory. It's an honor to recognize him tonight as one of our true fans."

The event began with a one-hour social with food on the concourse of the Convocation Center. That was followed by awards on the floor level of the facility, where XULA President Dr. Reynold Verret and Horn addressed the student-athletes and guests. The podium hosts were senior student-athletes Angelle Simon of women's basketball (Marrero, La./Karr High School) and Christopher August of men's track and field/cross country (Spring, Texas/Klein Collins High School).

"Tonight was a fun evening celebrating the accomplishments of our student-athletes and coaches," Horn said. "Several of our sports have had record years, and it's a true testament to the hard work of our coaches and student-athletes."

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

S.C. State's Leonard drafted No. 36 by Indianapolis Colts

ARLINGTON, Texas -- South Carolina State football's all-time leading tackler, linebacker Darius Leonard, was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 36 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday night.

Going in the second round, he is the highest-drafted Bulldogs player since Anthony Cook was taken in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft at No. 35 by the Houston Oilers.

Leonard, at 6-foot-4, 234 pounds, finished his 4-year playing career in Orangeburg with 394 stops, including 54 for a loss, 21.5 sacks, and 9 forced turnovers.

As a junior in 2016, Leonard racked up a career-high 19 tackles and blocked a field goal against the program where his half-brother (Anthony Waters) had played, the only Power 5 program who recruited him, eventual national champion Clemson.

To open his senior season in 2017, Leonard had 12 tackles and a sack against Southern in the nationally televised MEAC-SWAC Challenge. Despite the Bulldogs struggling to a 3-7 season, Leonard led the team his final collegiate campaign with 114 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble.


Raiders Select NC A&T OL Brandon Parker In The NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the second year in a row, a North Carolina A&T football player is heading to the NFL.

The Oakland Raiders traded up to the third round to take A&T offensive tackle Brandon Parker off the board with the 65th overall pick.

Parker was the MEAC's Offensive Lineman of the Year and a first-team all-conference member in three years in a row. He also earned AP FCS first-team All-American honors as a senior.

The Kannapolis native was a key part of an A&T team that won its second HBCU National Championship in three seasons and became the first MEAC school to ever finish a season undefeated.


Documents: Southern, coach Sean Woods agree to three-year, $125K incentive-laden contract

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- Sean Woods, who was officially introduced as Southern’s new men’s basketball coach April 12, has agreed to a three-year contract worth $125,000 a year with additional incentives possible, according to documents obtained by The Advocate.

Woods’ contract must be officially approved by Southern’s Board of Supervisors at its meeting Friday.

Laden with “exemplary performance” incentives, Woods’ three-year term with Southern officially begins May 1 and continues until April 30, 2021.

Woods has several possible bonuses written into his contract:

• $10,416.67 (one month's salary) for a Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season championship; $1,000 for each assistant coach

• $10,416.67 for a SWAC tournament title; $1,000 for each assistant

• $5,000 for each 20-win season; $1,000 for each assistant

• $10,416.67 for each NCAA tournament win; one month's salary for each assistant

• $25,000 for a Final Four appearance; $10,500 for each assistant

• $50,000 for a national championship; $20,000 for each assistant


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kendrick is state coach of the year; Tomasoni 1st team

Xavier University of Louisiana women's volleyballNEW ORLEANS — This time Xavier University of Louisiana volleyball won a close vote for Louisiana Coach of the Year.
Pat Kendrick, who in her first season led the Gold Nuggets to a record-breaking 23-3 season, outpolled LSU's Fran Flory 5-4 to earn the coaching award from a Louisiana Sports Writers Association panel of college publicists.

XULA also is represented on the All-Louisiana team. Juliana Tomasoni made the first team, Kayla Black made the second team, and Eva Le Guillou received honorable mention.

Kendrick's predecessor, Hannah Lawing, was runner-up in state voting each of her four seasons at XULA, including a 6-5 outcome in 2016 against Tulane's Jim Barnes. But Kendrick captured the 2017 award after leading her Gold Nuggets to Louisiana's highest winning percentage since 1991 and the third highest in state history. XULA also became the first Louisiana team to not lose a set against conference opponents. The Gold Nuggets set school season per-set records of 13.33 kills, 2.32 aces, 1.76 blocks and 12.50 assists. All six freshmen Kendrick signed contributed significantly.

Tomasoni, a senior outside hitter from Nova Trento, Brazil, hit .287 with 282 kills, 60 aces and 364 digs. Her honors included AVCA NAIA All-Southeast Region first team and — for the second consecutive year — Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament MVP and first-team All-GCAC. 

Tomasoni was second-team All-Louisiana a year ago. This year she received the third-most votes.

Black, a freshman outside hitter from Magnolia, Texas, and a graduate of St. Pius X High School in Houston, hit .238 with 254 kills, 38 aces, 212 digs and 32 blocks. She was first-team All-GCAC and All-GCAC Tournament.

Le Guillou, a freshman setter from Velizy-Villacoublay, France, produced 482 assists, 28 aces and 127 digs. She was GCAC Setter of the Year and second-team All-GCAC.

All-Louisiana nominees were compiled in December, but voting was postponed until this month.
XULA for the seventh straight year won GCAC regular-season and tournament championships and qualified for the NAIA National Championship tournament.
2017 All-Louisiana Women's Volleyball Team
Taylor Bannister, freshman, LSU
Marta Monne, senior, Louisiana Tech
Regan Rogers, junior, Northwestern State
Shanna Spree, sophomore, McNeese
Juliana Tomasoni, senior, XULA
Hali Wisnoskie, freshman, Louisiana-Lafayette
Libero: Raigen Cianciulli, freshman, LSU

Dree'Ana Abram, sophomore, Louisiana-Lafayette
Kayla Black, freshman, XULA
Justine Bowers, senior, Tulane
Desiree Frey, senior, Centenary
Stacey Reilly, senior, Louisiana-Lafayette
Anna Zwiebel, sophomore, LSU
Libero: Channing Burleson, senior, Northwestern State

PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Taylor Bannister, LSU
     Voting:  Bannister 7, Rogers 3, Reilly 1, Tomasoni 1
LIBERO OF THE YEAR:  Raigen Cianciulli, LSU
     Voting:  Cianciulli 5, Burleson 4, Sydney Davis (Louisiana-Lafayette) 2, Kacey LeBlanc (Louisiana-Monroe) 1
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:  no nominees
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:  Taylor Bannister, LSU
     Voting:  Bannister 11, Hannah Brister (Northwestern State) 1
     Voting:  Kendrick 5, Fran Flory (LSU) 4, Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot (Louisiana-Lafayette) 3

Jessica Bartczyszyn, senior, Louisiana-Lafayette; Eva Le Guillou, freshman, XULA; Gina Tillis, senior, LSU

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

Nuggets No. 3 nationally; fourth climb in five polls

Xavier University of Louisiana women's tennisNEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana, still awaiting its postseason details, climbed Tuesday from fourth to third in the NAIA Women's Tennis Coaches' Top 25.
The Gold Nuggets (17-7) possess their highest national ranking since Feb. 17, 2015, when they were No. 3. Excluding the 2005-06 academic year, when XULA did not compete, the Nuggets are in the top 25 for 100th time in the last 110 polls.

XULA has climbed in four of the last five polls.

XULA was 4-0 since the previous poll April 10 to close the regular season with a school-record 14-dual-match win streak. The Gold Nuggets won 5-3 April 15 at West Florida, then-No. 2 in the NCAA Division II rankings and currently No. 3.

XULA will not compete in a conference or unaffiliated group tournament. The NAIA will announce May 7 the next top 25 poll and the 24 women's teams and 24 men's teams that qualified for the NAIA National Championships. Tournament brackets will be revealed May 8, and the first round will begin May 15 at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. This year the women will play the morning matches. The championship finals are scheduled for May 19.

If the Gold Nuggets are one of the top eight seeds, they would receive a first-round bye and play their first match at nationals May 16 in the round of 16.

Here are all the Gold Nuggets' active poll streaks:
     •  55 consecutive appearances in the top 25 . . . streak began May 1, 2012.
     •  55 consecutive appearances in the top 20 . . . streak began May 1, 2012.
     •  14 consecutive appearances in the top 15 . . . streak began Feb. 28, 2017.
     •  5 consecutive appearances in the top 10 . . . streak began Feb. 27, 2018.
     •  4 consecutive appearances in the top 5 . . . streak began March 13, 2018.

NAIA Women's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses — records through April 22)
11Keiser (Fla.) [14]20-2374
22Georgia Gwinnett14-2362
34Xavier (La.)17-7350
45Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)12-2334
56William Carey (Miss.)11-5316
612Brenau (Ga.)15-7306
73SCAD Savannah (Ga.)10-5300
87William Woods (Mo.)13-5298
98Cardinal Stritch (Wis.)9-6286
109Indiana Wesleyan29-4257
1114Northwestern Ohio13-4253
1210LSU-Alexandria (La.)8-6251
1311San Diego Christian (Calif.)11-6244
1413Middle Georgia State10-6218
1515Westmont (Calif.)9-11202
1615SCAD Atlanta (Ga.)11-6201
1719Arizona Christian10-11171
1821Union (Ky.)15-5167
19RVCumberlands (Ky.)10-10161
2017Campbellsville (Ky.)12-7142
2123Loyola (La.)12-7140
2220Cumberland (Tenn.)13-10125
2322Reinhardt (Ga.)12-7108
2418Mobile (Ala.)11-6100
2525Marian (Ind.)17-475
Dropped from the Top 25: St. Thomas (Fla.)
Others Receiving Votes: Georgetown (Ky.) 68; St. Thomas (Fla.) 57; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 29; Southwestern (Kan.) 28; Missouri Baptist 19; Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 19; Tennessee Wesleyan 8; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 6; Huntington (Ind.) 6; Hastings (Neb.) 3; Asbury (Ky.) 3

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications