NEW ORLEANS — Tennis, the most successful intercollegiate sport on a national scale in recent years at Xavier University of Louisiana, is ready to serve it up again.
The Gold Nuggets and Gold Rush will open their fall schedule Thursday in the HBCU National Championships at South Fulton Tennis Center in Atlanta.
Seventeen schools are entered, most from NCAA Division I. Xavier is the lone NAIA entrant. The tournament will conclude Saturday.
Xavier's women reached the semifinals of the NAIA National Championship in 2013 and 2014, and the men reached the national quarterfinals each of the past four years.
The Gold Rush have six returning lettermen, and the Gold Nuggets have seven returning letterwomen.
The most notable returnees are Gold Rush senior Kyle Montrel, a three-time first-team NAIA All-American, and Gold Nuggets sophomore Caroline Vernet, a first-team NAIA All-American.
Alan Green is back for his 13th season as coach of both teams.
There is one newcomer: Gold Rush junior Karan Salwan, from New Delhi, India, and a transfer from NCAA DI's Utah State.
Salwan was All-Mountain West Conference this past season, Academic All-Mountain West and was a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete. He recorded Utah State's highest-ranked singles victory of 2015 when he defeated New Mexico's Samir Iftikhar, No.
61 nationally and No. 2 in the ITA Mountain Region.
Xavier will play host Sept. 25-27 to the USTA/ITA South Regional Championships and compete Oct. 23-24 in the Big Easy Classic at the University of New Orleans.
Next week's regional tourney will be competed at City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center the first two days and at XU Tennis Center the final day.
Xavier will begin its schedule of dual matches in late January.
Xavier must replace three NAIA All-Americans from this past season.
Nikita Soifer of the Gold Rush completed his eligibility. From the Gold Nuggets, Nour Abbes transferred to NCAA DI's University of Washington, and Simone-Alyse Ewell retired from competition with a season of eligibility remaining.