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No. 6 XU beats No. 5 Brenau; Ewell rallies twice to clinch
February 24, 2014


     MOBILE, Ala. — Sophomore Simone-Alyse Ewell rallied in the second and third sets of singles Monday to clinch Xavier University of Louisiana's 5-4 victory against Brenau in a matchup of ranked NAIA women's tennis opponents.
     The Gold Nuggets (4-4), ranked sixth, snapped a two-dual losing streak and recorded their first-ever victory in five attempts against the fifth-ranked Tigers (4-1).
     Ewell, playing at the fifth flight, defeated Valeria Savina 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 after trailing 5-2 in the second set and 4-1 in the third.
     "I had two options — let the deficit get the best of me or relax and play like it was 0-0," Ewell said. "I just kept focusing. In the third set I tried to put a lot of pressure on my opponent. I was hitting approach shots and coming to the net. I was volleying for winners or forcing my opponent into errors."
     "My teammates were there cheering for me every point, and that helped a lot, too."
     Ewell won in three sets for the first time at Xavier. As a freshman she played three three-set matches, losing two with the other not completed. Ewell said she had not won in three sets since a juniors tournament about four years ago.
     "Simone had an amazing match. Probably her best since she's come to Xavier," XU coach Alan Green said. "It came at a perfect time, because we needed it."
     Xavier won 2-of-3 doubles matches — Ewell and Amber Brown won 8-6 against Savina and Kelley Cohron at No. 3 — and got singles victories from freshmen Nour Abbes and Sha'Nel Bruins.
     Ewell was the only XU player to win in doubles and singles.
     Abbes improved to 7-0 with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory against Dominika Jasova at the top flight. Bruins beat Cohron 6-0, 6-2 at No. 6 for her team-leading eighth singles victory of the season, which includes fall tournaments.
     Brion Flowers and Brandi Nelson earned their first victory as doubles team, 9-7 at No. 2 against Maria Perdomo-Medina and Stephanie Moniz. Flowers also went three sets in singles, losing 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to Zalina Nazarova at No. 3. That tied the dual at four victories apiece.
     "It was a tough, grueling day for us," Green said. "It was as even a match as it could be. We did not have the fast start we had last night against Southeastern (Louisiana). All the doubles were tight. Brenau deserves a lot of credit for that (Coach) Andre (Ferreira) had his team ready to play. But we gutted it out."
     It was Xavier's second victory of the season against a top-5 opponent. The Gold Nuggets won 9-0 at then-No. 2 William Carey on Feb. 14.
     Xavier's next duals will be Saturday in Jackson, Miss., against Gulf Coast Athletic Conference opponents Fisk at 10 a.m. and Tougaloo at 2 p.m. The Gold Nuggets' next home dual will start at 2 p.m. on March 12 against Oral Roberts at XU Tennis Center.


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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