April 29, 2012
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NORCROSS, Ga. — Xavier's (La.) men's tennis team defeated Cumberland (Tenn.) 5-0 Saturday to win an NAIA unaffiliated group tournament for the second-straight year. Xavier also won the women's championship by upsetting defending champion Martin Methodist (Tenn.), 5-2.
XU's men set a school record with their seventh-consecutive conference/group tournament championship.
Both the Gold Rush (17-7), ranked eighth, and the unranked Gold Nuggets (7-21) earned automatic bids to the NAIA National Championships at Mobile, Ala., next month. The Rush qualified for the fourth-straight year, and the Nuggets qualified for the sixth time in eight seasons.
Cumberland's 16th-ranked men (17-2) and Martin Methodist's 17th-ranked women (11-4) await possible at-large bids to nationals. Tournament pairings will be announced May 8.
Loic Didavi clinched Xavier's men's title with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Na'im Azhar at No. 1 singles. Seniors Steffen Giles-Osborn and Sean Richarson defeated Devin Crotzer and Na'im Azhar 8-6 at No. 2 doubles, and both XU seniors finished unbeaten in four years of conference and group tournaments. Giles-Osborn is 15-0, and Richardson is 12-0.
Xavier also got doubles victories from Didavi and Zach Taylor and Viktor Svoboda and Corey Huggins. Taylor gave the Rush a 4-0 advantage when he beat Evan Sanna 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
"Our men came out on a mission to play well and not let up on anyone," XU coach Alan Green said. "We have to keep that attitude going in the national tournament."
Amber Brown beat Maria Charrys 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3 singles to clinch for the Nuggets. Charrys clinched a 5-4 victory against XU on March 9 by beating Brown in three sets.
"I just wanted to go out there and get revenge for last time," Brown said. "I told myself that I wasn't going to lose to her. I knew that I needed to win for my team to get to nationals."
It was the second time Saturday that the Nuggets lost the first two doubles matches, then won five in a row. Kourtney Howell and Nicole DeLoach beat Charrys and Jeanna Stanford 8-5 at No. 2 doubles, then Amanda Materre, Howell and Jordyn Goody won in singles to set up Brown's clinching victory."
"I could not be prouder of the Nuggets," Green said. "We may not have the prettiest overall record, but we're definitely one of the top 24 teams."
In the semifinals the XU men beat Bethel (Tenn.) 5-0, and the women overcame a 2-0 deficit to win 5-2 against Milligan, which eliminated the Nuggets in the 2011 semifinals.
Xavier's seven teams combined for nine conference/group championships in 2011-12, and all seven teams qualified for national tournaments. The nine titles and seven tourney bids are XU records for one academic year.