Xavier University of Louisiana Team Page
Rush, Nuggets seek automatic bids at NAIA qualifier
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The postseason begins Friday for the Xavier University of Louisiana tennis teams in a qualifying tournament for the NAIA National Championship at Champions Club.
The event is for conferences which did not qualify for automatic bids to the national tournament. But automatic bids will be awarded to the men's and women's champions of this two-day tourney.
The Gold Rush (11-9), ranked 11th in the NAIA coaches poll, are seeded first in the four-team men's bracket and will play fourth-seeded Bethel (Tenn.) (5-13) at 1:30 p.m. EDT. XU's women (3-17), still receiving votes in the national poll, are seeded second out of eight teams and will play seventh-seeded Union (Ky.) (2-8) at 10 a.m. EDT.
XU seeks its fourth consecutive berth in the women's draw of the NAIA National Championship and its third consecutive berth in the men's field. The national tournament will start May 17 in Mobile, Ala.
"That's a primary goal every year — to get our teams to nationals and then see how far they can go," eighth-year XU Coach Alan Green said. "There are automatic bids on the line. We want to get those bids this weekend and, in the case of our men, not have to depend on an at-large selection."
XU's men reached the top 10 for the first time in the program's history on March 8 and stayed there for two additional polls. A 6-3 victory at Vanguard on March 4 was the Gold Rush's first against an NAIA top-10 opponent.
The Gold Nuggets have dropped six straight and 15 of their last 16 duals. But after playing the entire regular season with just five players, walk-on freshman Courtney Martin was added to the postseason roster to help the Nuggets avoid forfeits at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.
Seniors Hassan Abbas (13-6 singles, 13-7 doubles) of the Rush and Melissa DeLoach (7-15 singles, 11-11 doubles) of the Nuggets lead their respective teams in combined victories.
Martin Methodist, ranked 23rd in the men's poll, is seeded second in the qualifier. XU beat Martin Methodist 6-3 in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 18.
Martin Methodist's 18th-ranked women are seeded first. The Gold Nuggets are seeded one spot higher than Milligan, even though Milligan received 39 more points than XU in the most recent national poll.
XU Coach Alan Green, center
Coach Alan Green, middle, hopes to take his women to the NAIA National Championship for the fourth consecutive year and his men for the third straight year.
NAIA National Championship
(seedings in parentheses)
Semifinals — Friday
Xavier (1) vs. Bethel (Tenn.) (4)
Martin Methodist (2) vs. Cumberland (3)
Quarterfinals — Friday
Xavier (2) vs. Union (Ky.) (7)
Milligan (3) vs. Bethel (Tenn.) (6)
Martin Methodist (1) vs. Reinhardt (8)
Cumberland (4) vs. Tennessee Wesleyan (5)