By Ed Cassiere, Xavier (LA)
NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana’s Mbali Langa and Kareemah Muhammad were announced Tuesday as first-team All-Americans on the NAIA’s committee-selected team.
Langa is a junior from Johannesburg, South Africa, and in her first XULA season after transferring from Hillsborough (Fla.) Community College. Muhammad — a sophomore from Tustin, Calif. — was second-team All-America a year ago.
Langa was 17-7 in singles and 16-8 in doubles in 2023 dual matches. She was 16-5 with Valentina Largacha as her doubles partner, including two victories this past week at NAIA nationals. Langa was 17th in the most recent ITA NAIA singles rankings.
Muhammad is ranked 11th in NAIA singles. In October she was the singles runner-up at the NAIA Gulf ITA Regional Championships. Her spring competition was limited because of injury, but she returned to the court in late April and went 4-0 in doubles with Valaine Clarke, including two victories at NAIA nationals.
XULA finished 22-7 in dual matches — the Gold Nuggets tied the school record for season victories — and reached the quarterfinals at NAIA nationals.
This is the 11th consecutive season that the Gold Nuggets produced a first- or second-team All-American on the NAIA’s list. The streak does not include 2019-20, when the NAIA did not select All-Americans because of the season-shortening COVID-19 pandemic.
Still to be announced are the ITA’s NAIA All-Americans — the top 20 singles players and top 10 doubles teams from the end-of-season rankings.