Gold Nuggets avenge loss to Union (Ky.), advance to NAIA semifinals

Ed Cassiere, Xavier (LA) Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications



MOBILE, Ala. — Xavier University of Louisiana women’s tennis avenged its only loss of the past 11 weeks with a 4-0 victory Thursday against Union (Ky.) in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Championship tournament.
The Gold Nuggets (21-5), ranked third in the coaches poll and seeded third in the tournament, will play No. 2 Keiser in the semifinals at 9 a.m. Friday at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center (851 Gaillard Drive, zip code 36608, phone 251-208-5181). Admission is free.
Freshman Valentina Largacha clinched for XULA when she defeated Alba Rodenas Risueno 6-4, 6-0 at No. 6 singles. Angela Charles-Alfred earned XULA’s first singles victory, 6-0, 6-3 against Christina Schoener at No. 3, and Farah Baklouti defeated Nicole Viljoen 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4.
Baklouti and Kyra Akinnibi clinched the doubles point at No. 3 with their 6-2 victory against Rodenas Risueno and Mai Kitashita. Charles-Alfred and Lailaa Bashir, third in the ITA NAIA national doubles rankings, beat Schoner and Ljiljana Pajcin 6-0 on the first court.
It was the Gold Nuggets’ seventh consecutive victory since a 4-3 loss April 9 to Union in the IWU Invitational and the 15th in their last 16 dual matches.
Union (15-3) was seeded sixth and seventh in the coaches poll. It was the Bulldogs’ first quarterfinal appearance.
Keiser advanced with a 4-0 victory against LSU-Alexandria. No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett and No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan will meet in the other semifinal; the championship round will start at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The semifinal appearance will be the Gold Nuggets’ sixth, all in the last eight tournaments. Head coach Alan Green‘s 2013 team was XULA’s first in any sport to reach the NAIA national semifinals.

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A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.