Xavier teams play Tuesday at NAIA national tourney
May 17, 2010
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana
will continue its record-setting year in athletics and an impressive five-season
run when its men's and women's tennis teams compete Tuesday in the NAIA National
Championship at Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.
The Gold Nuggets (16-13), ranked 19th, will play No. 17
Indiana Wesleyan (21-3) in a first-round women's match at 9 a.m. The Gold Rush
(12-13), ranked 16th, will play 17th-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan (11-4) in the
men's first round at 1 p.m.
It will be the first time that five Xavier teams compete
in NAIA national tournaments during the same academic year. The men's and women's
cross country teams did it in November, and the women's basketball team competed in March.
The bigger picture is even brighter. Twenty-three times
in the last five seasons Xavier teams won Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
championships, and 17 times the Rush and Nuggets qualified for NAIA National Championships.
Coach Alan Green's tennis teams have been as strong as
any at Xavier during the last five seasons. Both programs have been in every
final NAIA top 25 during that time, and they won a combined nine GCAC team championships.
This is the second straight year that both Xavier teams
will compete at the national tournament. The Nuggets are making their fifth
appearance at this event, and the Rush will make its second.
Neither Xavier team has lost a first-round match at
nationals — the women are 4-0 — yet neither has advanced past the
second round. Reaching the quarterfinals this time again will be formidable,
as the defending champions and top-ranked teams — Auburn Montgomery's
women and Fresno Pacific's men — have first-round byes and will await the
XU-Indiana Wesleyan and XU-Tennessee Wesleyan winners on Wednesday.
Seniors Anastesia Opata and Angelina Callis, both
NAIA All-Americans a year ago, lead the Nuggets. Opata is a two-time GCAC
Player of the Year.
Leading the Gold Rush will be GCAC Player of the
Year Steffen Giles-Osborn, a sophomore, and junior Hassan Abbas, the GCAC
Newcomer of the Year.
NOTES: The Weather Channel's Tuesday forecast
for Mobile calls for mostly sunny skies, a high of 87 degrees and a 20-percent
chance of rain . . . In the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's NAIA individual
rankings announced May 7, Opata was 24th in women's singles, and the Opata-Callis
doubles team was 25th. Giles-Osborn was 44th in men's singles.