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Gold Rush reach NAIA quarterfinals for 2nd straight year
May 15, 2013


     MOBILE, Ala. — Loic Didavi, Nikita Soifer and Viktor Svoboda won in doubles and singles Wednesday to lead sixth-ranked Xavier University of Louisiana to a 5-3 men's tennis victory against No. 11 Belhaven in the second round of the NAIA National Championship.
     The victory was the fourth in a row for the Gold Rush (15-7), which matched a season high. The XU men have won 12 of their last 15 duals, with all but one of the victories occurring on the road during that period.
     Xavier had a first-round bye and was competing for the first time since April 21.
     It's the second consecutive year that the Gold Rush reached the quarterfinals. Xavier will play unbeaten, third-seeded and third-ranked Vanguard, a 5-1 winner against Warner, at 9 a.m. Thursday. Prior to 2012, just one team in XU history — coach Bob Hopkins' 1972-73 men's basketball team — had reached the NAIA quarterfinals.
     Soifer and Svoboda, winning for the 14th time in their last 15 doubles matches, defeated Jefferson Nino and David Mejia 8-6 at the second flight to tie the dual at 1. Didavi and Kyle Montrel gave Xavier a 2-1 advantage with an 8-2 victory against Nikita Lisov and Andres Yepez at No. 1. Both XU doubles teams have six-match win streaks.
     Didavi, announced Monday evening as the ITA NAIA National Senior Player of the Year, gave the Gold Rush a 3-2 lead when he defeated Lisov 6-1, 6-2 at the top singles flight. Enrico Patriarca defeated Xavier's Benjamin Brading 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 to tie the dual at 3, but the Rush took the lead for good when Svoboda defeated Mejia 6-4, 7-5 at No. 4. Soifer, playing the second flight, ended the dual and recorded his team-leading fifth clinching victory this season with a 6-3, 6-3 decision against Nino.
     "This was a good win for us," XU coach Alan Green said. "We hung tough against a good opponent. We played really well in doubles and brought some momentum into the singles matches, then we got off to a good start in singles. We had some tough first sets, but I thought we were better prepared for the heat and were able to wear Belhaven down a bit."
     Soifer's singles victory was his first of the season against a ranked opponent. Nino was 32nd and Soifer 17th in the most recent ITA NAIA individual rankings. Svoboda got revenge against Mejia — who beat him in a third-set super-tiebreaker during Xavier's 5-4 home victory Feb. 28 — and won for the 13th time in his last 14 singles matches.
     The victory was the Gold Rush's sixth of the season against a ranked NAIA opponent.
     Vanguard is 23-0, and the Lions' top two singles players, Stefan Kilchhofer and Roger Muri, are a combined 44-0 this semester. Xavier played at Vanguard each of the past two seasons, winning 6-3 in 2011 and losing 6-3 in 2012. Vanguard also beat Xavier 5-3 in the second round of nationals in 2011.
     "It will be a very interesting matchup against an unbeaten team and a top-3 seed," Green said. "We are looking forward to the challenge and to see how we match up."


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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Xavier University of Louisiana
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Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
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