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Gold Nuggets reach NAIA semifinals for 2nd straight year
May 15, 2014


     MOBILE, Ala. — Compared to the second round the previous day, Xavier University of Louisiana women's tennis coach Alan Green was considerably happier with his team's performance in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Championship.
     The Gold Nuggets (17-6), top-ranked and top-seeded at this event, throttled ninth-ranked Northwood (Fla.) 5-0 on Thursday to reach the semifinals for the second consecutive year. Prior to 2013, no XU team in any sport had reached the national semifinals.
     Xavier will play fifth-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.) — a 5-3 winner against fourth-ranked and three-time defending champion Auburn Montgomery — at 9 a.m. Friday.
     After becoming the first-ever women's top seed to lose a match in the second round — Xavier beat Davenport 5-2 — the Nuggets did not drop a set against Northwood (15-5) and needed slightly less than 2 1/2 hours to clinch.
     "I can't tell you what I told our team in my pregame pep talk," Green said, "but the message was to dominate today. And we did. We responded well."
     Sisters Carmen and Brandi Nelson, a loser at No. 3 doubles against Davenport, were first off the court against Northwood when they beat Livia Toth and Julia Ferraz 8-3. Nour Abbes and Simone-Alyse Ewell, 11-0 as a doubles team, gave the Nuggets a 2-0 lead with their 8-2 decision against Adelaide Wood and Melaine Snowberger. Then Kourtney Howell and Brion Flowers, ranked fifth by the NAIA, completed the doubles sweep with an 8-5 victory against Justyna Wojcik and Valentina Souki.
     The Nelsons' resurgence in doubles was symbolic of the Nuggets' improvement from the previous round.
     "I am really proud of the way the Nelsons played," Green said. "I got on them pretty hard yesterday and benched Brandi in singles after they lost. They took the message very well.
     "Today Brandi gave me what I was looking for. She responded like an adult and didn't get down on herself. She bounced back."
     Brandi Nelson did not win in singles but was one of three Nuggets leading matches when the dual ended. Earning the final two victories for Xavier were Nour Abbes and Kourtney Howell, both 6-1, 6-1 at the top two flights.
     Abbes improved to 16-0 by beating 12th-ranked Wojcik. Howell earned her 15th victory of the season by defeating Souki.
     Xavier has 10 victories this season against ranked NAIA opponents and is 6-1 against the top 10. The Nuggets were 2-0 in 2013 against Embry-Riddle, including a 5-3 victory in the national quarterfinals.


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.

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
Campus Box 92
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 520-7329 phone
(504) 520-7934 fax

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