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No. 1! Gold Nuggets make history in NAIA coaches poll

April 16, 2013

     NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana's women's tennis program made a historic leap to No. 1 in the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll announced shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday.
     This is the first time that a Xavier team in any sport has been ranked No. 1 in the NAIA. Xavier has competed in intercollegiate athletics since the 1930s and has produced NAIA-ranked teams since the early 1970s.
     "This validates all the hard work and all the tough scheduling we've done through the years," said 10th-year XU coach Alan Green, whose team has won its last six duals and 10 of its last 12. "This is what I hoped we would get out of it."
     The Gold Nuggets (14-7), No. 6 in the poll two weeks ago, received 8-of-13 first-place votes after dual-match victories against then-No. 2 William Carey on April 5 and then-No. 3 Auburn Montgomery the following day. AUM defeated then-No. 1 Brenau on April 9. Xavier is 9-0 this season against ranked NAIA opponents; all the losses were to NCAA Division I teams.
     Brenau is second and AUM third in the new poll. Brenau received four first-place votes and AUM one.
     "Everyone on the team believes we deserve this. It wasn't given to us," said junior Kourtney

   
NAIA Women's Tennis Coaches' Top 25 Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses — records through Sunday, April 14)

Rank Team Record Points Last
1 Xavier (8) 14-7 334 6
2 Brenau (4) 11-3 332 1
3 Auburn Montgomery (1) 11-8 323 3
4 SCAD Savannah 10-2 316 4
5 William Carey 10-7 297 2
6 Lindsey Wilson 14-2 292 5
7 Lewis-Clark State 7-7 270 10
8 Westmont 17-2 264 7
9 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 9-9 263 8
10 Oklahoma Baptist 11-6 243 11
11 Vanguard 11-15 231 12
12 Northwood (Fla.) 7-6 214 14
13 Concordia (Calif.) 9-11 211 9
14-tie Olivet Nazarene 9-6 189 18
14-tie Coastal Georgia 7-7 189 15
16 Indiana Wesleyan 18-1 185 13
17 Cumberland 12-5 173 16
18 St. Thomas (Fla.) 6-8 166 17
19 SCAD Atlanta 5-1 138 24
20 Campbellsville 9-8 117 19
21 Milligan 17-2 113 RV
22 Marian (Ind.) 16-9 106 21
23 Lee (Tenn.) 4-6 92 20
24 Ashford 13-1 85 RV
25 Southeastern (Fla.) 7-10 84 22

Others receiving votes: Nebraska Wesleyan 71, Belhaven 52, Davenport 48, Georgetown (Ky.) 27, Bethel (Kan.) 21, Northwestern Ohio 16, Robert Morris (Chicago) 13, Hope International 11, Martin Methodist 7, Indiana Southeast 5.
Howell, an NAIA All-American in 2012. "Everyone has a lot of confidence right now. Being No. 1 definitely makes us want to train harder. I think we'll handle the pressure fine."
     The Gold Nuggets were 13th in the preseason poll on Jan. 29 and have climbed in every poll thereafter. This is the Nuggets' fourth consecutive top-10 appearance. The NAIA releases tennis polls every two weeks.
     Although six of the previous eight Xavier teams qualified for the NAIA National Championship, the Gold Nuggets had spent just one week in the top 10 before this season. That was a No. 9 ranking in March 2007.
     Xavier's next match will be Friday against Fisk in the quarterfinals of an NAIA unaffiliated group qualifying tournament at Jonesboro, Ga. The winner of that tournament will receive an automatic bid to nationals. Challenging the Nuggets from the opposite side of the eight-team bracket will be No. 19 SCAD Atlanta and No. 21 Milligan.
     "We've made it to the top of the rankings, but in no way am I satisfied," Green said. "We still have a long way to go. We have a qualifying tournament this week and nationals next month. But I think we now believe we can win the national championship."
     Xavier is one of 38 U.S. colleges listed as a "Best Buy School" in the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges.


 

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

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