Xavier signs three, opens fall season at HBCU Championships
September 21, 2011
NEW ORLEANS -- A two-time NAIA All-American is one of three men's tennis players to sign scholarships with Xavier University of Louisiana.
Joining the Gold Rush for the 2011-12 season are junior Loic Didavi of Cotonou, Benin, freshman Nikita Soifer of Beer Sheva, Israel, and sophomore Viktor Svoboda of Kamenice, Czech Republic. Didavi transferred from Auburn Montgomery, and Svoboda transferred from Lewis-Clark State.
The Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets will begin their season Thursday in the HBCU National Championships at Clayton County Tennis Center in Jonesboro, Ga. Xavier will return to Georgia next week for its other fall event, the USTA/ITA NAIA South Regional on Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Atlanta.
Didavi was second-team NAIA All-America twice at AUM. He was an ITA NAIA All-American in doubles this past season, when he was 29th in singles and fourth in doubles with Boris Obama in the final rankings. Didavi helped AUM win the NAIA championship in 2010.
Soifer, who was born in Russia but moved to Israel when he was six years old, was ranked first in singles among Israelis in the 14 and 18 age groups. His highest overall singles ranking in Israel was 12th, and he spent 2½ years in Israel's army before signing with Xavier.
Nicholls State, UNC Asheville and James Madison, all of NCAA Division I, also recruited Soifer.
Svoboda helped Lewis-Clark State qualify for the NAIA National Championship in May and won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5 singles in the Warriors' first-round loss to Lindsey Wilson. Svoboda recorded two singles victories and two doubles victories against NCAA Division I opponents.
The Gold Rush ranked a program-record-tying eighth in the final coaches poll this past season. Xavier will announce its schedule of spring-semester dual matches near the end of 2011.