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Howell is NAIA Player of Week; Taylor wins GCAC award


Kourtney Howell
Kourtney Howell rallied Xavier to victories in the semifinals and title round of an NAIA unaffiilated tourney.
    
May 2, 2012


     NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's Kourtney Howell has been selected NAIA Women's Tennis Player of the Week for April 23-29.
     Howell also was selected Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week, and Xavier's Zach Taylor won the GCAC award in men's tennis for the third time this season and the sixth time in two

years to extend his conference career record.
     Howell, a sophomore from Cypress, Texas, and a graduate of Cypress Woods High School, was 3-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles to help the Gold Nuggets win an NAIA unaffiliated group tournament at Norcross, Ga., and earn an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship. She rallied her team in the final two rounds after trailing 2-0 against Milligan and 2-0 against then-17th-ranked Martin Methodist.
     Howell clinched the semifinals dual with her

    
Zach Taylor

Zach Taylor

6-1, 6-3 singles victory against Milligan's Kayla Kelly, then she put Xavier ahead to stay in the championship round with her 6-4, 6-1 victory against Martin Methodist's 47th-ranked Paloma Cortina. It was Howell's fifth victory this season against a ranked singles opponent and her second against Cortina. Howell teamed with Nicole DeLoach
for an 8-5 decision against Martin Methodist's Maria Charrys and Jeanna Stanford — their sixth consecutive doubles victory.
     This is the third time this year and the fourth time in two seasons that a Xavier tennis player was NAIA Player of the Week. The XU men produced the other three recipients — Corey Huggins for April 9-15, Loic Didavi for April 2-8 and Taylor for April 25-May 1, 2011. Howell is the first XU female athlete to win the NAIA award since Brittany Powell (women's basketball) did it for Jan. 18-24, 2010.
     The conference award is Howell's fourth this season, which ties a GCAC record set by Xavier's Anastesia Opata in 2009.
     Taylor, from Monroe, La., and a graduate of St. Frederick High School and Ventura (Calif.) College, also was 3-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles at the unaffiliated tournament to help the Gold Rush qualify for nationals and, for the second consecutive year, win the men's title of the qualifying event. He did not lose a game in the quarterfinals or semifinals.
     In Xavier's 5-0 championship victory against 16th-ranked Cumberland, Taylor and Didavi defeated Evan Sanna and Jeremy Fleming 8-3 in doubles, and Taylor defeated Sanna 6-1, 6-2 in singles. The singles victory was Taylor's seventh in a row.
     The national tournaments for men and women will begin May 15 in Mobile, Ala., Pairings will be announced Tuesday. Xavier's men are ranked seventh, and the women are 19th.


 

 
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 teams in basketball, cross country and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.

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