Xavier Athletics



Nuggets' Opata is Louisiana Newcomer of the Year
June 17, 2008

NEW ORLEANS — Anastesia Opata of Xavier University of Louisiana is the Newcomer of the Year on the All-Louisiana women's tennis team announced Tuesday.

Opata is a second-team selection. Her teammate, Dominique Bell, was a repeat first-team selection.

Xavier's Miroslav Vukicevic earned honorable mention on the All-Louisiana men's team.

Opata, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, Ga., and a transfer from Washington State, was 16-4 in singles this season and teamed with Bell for a 20-5 doubles record. Opata was a first-team NAIA All-American, the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and No. 22 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association NAIA singles rankings.

Bell, a senior from Jackson, Miss., was 16-4 in singles. She was a second-team NAIA All-American, the GCAC Player of the Year and No. 30 in the final ITA singles rankings.

Bell and Opata ranked 13th in doubles and led the Gold Nuggets to a 17-9 record, their first victory in the NAIA Region XIII Tournament and a berth in the NAIA National Championship, where Xavier reached the second round. The Nuggets were No. 13 in the final NAIA coaches poll, their highest season-ending ranking.

Vukicevic, a senior from Sombor, Serbia-Montenegro, was ninth in the final ITA men's singles rankings. He was 12-8 in singles, 13-10 in doubles and was first-team NAIA All-America on the coaches team and the ITA team. The Gold Rush, like its female counterparts, earned its highest season-ending ranking in the NAIA poll, 17th, and its first victory in the NAIA regionals. Xavier's men finished 15-9 and won its third consecutive GCAC Tournament.

A Louisiana Sports Writers Association panel selected the teams based on nominations by the state's tennis-playing four-year colleges and universities.

2008 All-Louisiana Women's Tennis Team

First Team
Name                   School                   Class       Hometown
Emilija Arnaudovska    Southeastern Louisiana   Senior      Skopje, Macedonia
Dominique Bell         Xavier                   Senior      Jackson, Miss.
Megan Falcon           LSU                      Junior      Alameda, Calif.
Bonnie Phillips        Southeastern Louisiana   Senior      Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Hannah Robinson        LSU                      Sophomore   Monroe, La.
(tie) Iva Velkovska    Southeastern Louisiana   Junior      Skopje, Macedonia
(tie) Megan Wiltz      Southern                 Sophomore   Lafayette, La.
(tie) Mykala Hedberg   LSU                      Junior      Oxnard, Calif.

Second Team
Name                   School                   Class       Hometown
Nina Knavs             Southeastern Louisiana   Senior      Ljubljana, Slovenia
Anastesia Opata        Xavier                   Sophomore   Lawrenceville, Ga.
Bianca Schulz          Northwestern State       Freshman    Wiesenstriasse, Germany
Jana Simurkova         Southeastern Louisiana   Senior      Trencin, Slovak Republic
Player of the Year: Megan Falcon, LSU 
Freshman of the Year (tie): Kathryn Curtis, Southern (Henderson, Nevada);   
Bianca Schulz, Northwestern State 
Newcomer of the Year: Anastesia Opata, Xavier
Coach of the Year: Jason Hayes, Southeastern Louisiana
2008 All-Louisiana Men's Tennis Team
Name                   School                   Class       Hometown
Piotrek Banas          Louisiana-Lafayette      Sophomore   Bielsko-Biala, Poland     
Sebastian Carlsson     LSU                      Freshman    Uppsala, Sweden
Kevin Dessauer         LSU                      Senior      New Orleans, La.
Vladimir Paunic        Southeastern Louisiana   Senior      Novi Sad, Serbia 
Nicolas Rufyikiri      Grambling State          Junior      Republic of Brundi
Michael Venus          LSU                      Junior      Orlando, Fla. 
Player of the Year: Michael Venus, LSU 
Newcomer of the Year: Michael Venus, LSU 
Freshman of the Year: Sebastian Carlsson, LSU 
Coach of the Year: Jeff Brown, LSU 

Honorable Mention: Radu Ionescu, Nicholls State; Miroslav Vukicevic, Xavier


Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's and women's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 520-7329 phone
(504) 520-7934 fax

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