Xavier Athletics



Knowles victory advances XU to NAIA second round
May 12, 2009


     MOBILE, Ala. — Cameron Knowles was refueled, refreshed and resilient Tuesday, and that helped the Xavier University of Louisiana men's tennis team defeat Oklahoma Christian 5-4 in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship at Copeland-Cox Tennis Center.
     Knowles' 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 No. 5 singles victory over Oklahoma Christian's Henson Adams advanced the 18th-ranked Gold Rush (17-6) to a second-round matchup at 9 a.m. Wednesday against top-seeded and three-time defending champion Auburn Montgomery.
     Xavier's first appearance at nationals was a roller-coaster ride. The Rush led 3-1 after Mario Myles' 6-0, 6-0 victory against Maxim Salitra at No. 6 singles but needed victories from freshman Steffen Giles-Osborn and Knowles in the final two completed matches to edge the 16th-ranked Eagles (9-6).
     "I thought (Knowles) was done after he lost that second set," Xavier coach Alan Green said. "But there's a heat rule at nationals that gives the players a 10-minute break if they split the first two sets. Cameron used every second of that break to find food, eat Skittles and get back into shape."
     Knowles never lost serve in the third set, broke Adams' serve in the final game and won on the fifth match point.
     "Knowles stayed on top in the third set," Green said of the junior from Omaha, Neb., and Central High School. "It was the gutsiest match I've seen him play since he's been at Xavier."
     Xavier won two of three doubles matches, including Mike Green and Terry Richardson's 8-6 victory over Florian Thies and Thomas Van Cauter, the NAIA's sixth-ranked doubles team. It was the first time this season that Green and Richardson had been paired.
     Oklahoma Christian won the top three singles flights, with Van Cauter beating Green 6-4, 6-3 and Esteban Flores defeating Richardson 6-3, 7-5 in matchups of top-50 NAIA singles players.
     Giles-Osborn defeated Thies 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4 for his team-leading ninth consecutive singles victory of the season.
     Xavier is the first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference men's tennis team to win in the first round of nationals since Spring Hill in 2003. The Rush also set a school record for season victories, exceeding its 2005 mark of 16.
     Auburn Montgomery (18-2) will be a familiar opponent. The Senators defeated the Rush 6-1 on March 12 in the AUM Invitational and beat the Rush twice in 2008, including 5-0 in the semifinals of the NAIA Region XIII Tournament to end Xavier's season.


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.

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