Nuggets beat Union for another NAIA first-round victory
May 12, 2009
MOBILE, Ala. — It was more of the same Tuesday
for the Xavier University of Louisiana women's tennis team, which rolled past
Union (Ky.) 8-1 in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship at
Copeland-Cox Tennis Center.
The Gold Nuggets, 19-6 and No. 15 in the final
coaches poll, not only beat Union for the second time in as many attempts
this season, but they also extended several streaks, including:
• A 4-0 record in first-round matches at nationals.
• 8-0 in neutral-site duals this season.
• An 11th consecutive victory against NAIA opponents.
• Angelina Callis and Anastesia Opata in singles and doubles.
Xavier will play third-ranked and third-seeded Berry (13-3)
in the second round at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
A noticeable difference was in Union's lineup, where
Camila Cunha played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles after sitting out the Nuggets'
5-0 victory over the Lady Bulldogs at Rome, Ga., on April 11. But Xavier was ready.
Callis and Opata defeated Cunha and Juliana Negosek 8-2 — it was the
13th consecutive victory for the Nuggets' top doubles team, No. 11 in the
ITA/NAIA rankings — and Opata, 22nd nationally in singles, cruised past
Cunga 6-1, 6-0 to clinch the dual and record her seventh straight triumph.
Callis beat Negosek 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 for her 10th
consecutive singles victory.
"We got a good start in doubles with big leads on all
three courts, and it carried over," Xavier coach Alan Green said. "Singles was
a little tougher than the first meeting, and we knew we were facing Union's best
player this time. But our ladies knew it was nationals and that Union would play
us tougher than they did last month. Everybody stepped up."
For Melissa DeLoach, the Nuggets' No. 5 singles player,
it was another step in the right direction. The sophomore improved to 6-0 this
spring with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 victory over Andressa Coelho. DeLoach trailed 5-4 in
the first set, which Green said lasted more than an hour.
"There were some extremely long points in the first set,"
Green said. "I was proud of Melissa for coming back and playing tough."
Union finished 13-4, and Xavier was responsible for its final two losses.
The Nuggets, who never have won in the second round at nationals,
will play Berry for the first time since a 5-4 loss to the Lady Vikings at Daytona Beach, Fla.,
on March 11, 2007.
"Berry's tough," Green said. "Our goal is to keep
them out in the heat as long as possible."
NOTES: The Nuggets' other first-round victories
at nationals were in 2004, 2005 and 2008 . . . The Nuggets are the fourth Gulf Coast
Athletic Conference program to win four or more consecutive opening-round contests
at nationals. The others are Mobile in softball (8), Mobile in men's soccer (5) and
Xavier in women's basketball (4) . . . Green, who also coaches Xavier's men, is 5-0
in the first round at nationals. His Gold Rush defeated Oklahoma Christian 5-4