XU makes history with 6-0 win over Mobile in GCAC final
April 24, 2009
MOBILE, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana
earned its first national-tournament bid in men's tennis Friday with a 6-0
victory over Mobile in the championship match of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
Tournament at Copeland-Cox Tennis Center.
The Gold Rush, 16-6 and No. 18 in the NAIA coaches poll,
won the title for the third consecutive year, but this is the first season the GCAC
has an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships, which will begin May 12
at this same venue. Mobile (10-4) already had earned a host-school bid to nationals.
Xavier also became the first HBCU (Historically Black
Colleges and Universities) to qualify for the NAIA nationals in men's tennis
since the event went to a dual-match format in 2000.
Xavier senior Terry Richardson earned his second GCAC
Player of the Year award in three years after rallying to defeat Ale Vial —
the 2008 Player of the Year — 3-6, 6-1, 6-0. Richardson was the only Xavier
player to drop a set, and Xavier was leading in the three unfinished matches.
Freshman Steffen Giles-Osborn clinched the dual, just as he did
in the semifinals, with a victory at No. 4 singles. Giles-Osborn beat Sam Perlmutter 6-0, 6-1.
The championship is the fourth for Xavier, which won its
first in 2005. The Gold Rush did not compete in 2006 due to the effects of Hurricane
Katrina, which forced XU to cancel intercollegiate athletics that academic year.
Including the regular season, Xavier did not lose a match
in any of its 10 duals against GCAC men's opponents this year. The Rush beat Spring
Hill 6-0 in the semifinals Friday afternoon.
"Our guys were very focused from this morning onward,"
said Alan Green, in his sixth year as coach of Xavier's men and women. "They played
hard, they played together and communicated with each other. They keyed in on what
they had to do.
"The berth to nationals was at stake, and our guys
really wanted to get to nationals. They were not to be denied today."