For the Spring 2016 semester, two new tennis players joined Xavier University’s tennis team. The women’s team welcomed Charlene Goreau and the men’s team added Thomas Setodji. Both students are from France and are learning to adjust both to a new country and Xavier athletics.

Both freshmen, Charlene Goreau and Thomas Setodji started their first seasons at Xavier with strong performances and results. Setodji and Goreau, both French natives who enrolled at Xavier University in January, were named Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Players of the Week for Feb. 29-March 6. It is the second GCAC Player of the Week award for both. Setodji, from Domont, France, was home-schooled, an experience that allowed him to be able to focus mainly on tennis. He won eight singles matches for the Gold Rush and is the only unbeaten player in the team. Goreau, who graduated from Raymond Naves School in Toulouse, France has won eleven singles matches and lost only two against Louisiana State University at Alexandria and Savannah College of Art and Design.

Both students said they are very excited about being in New Orleans and at Xavier University. “I am very happy to be here, New Orleans is a good city,” said Thomas Setodji.

“It is a very enriching experience, the cultures are totally different between French and the USA. Everything goes well here. I was welcomed very well by the team and by the professors,” said Setodji, who added that he is finding it easier to balance both classes and athletics here than in France. “The athletes are more recognized here, in France it was very hard to ally the studies and tennis that’s why I was home-schooled,” he adds.

Charlene Goreau, who is studying business at Xavier said she too has had a good transition so far. “I’m very pleased by this school and by my tennis team. I’m from France and for me studying and playing tennis in an American university is a very good experience,” Goreau said.

“I enjoy having this experience as well as the student-athlete program. I will be really happy to continue this experience next semester,” she said.

Coach Alan Green couldn’t be more happy about his new recruits. “I am very proud of them and I think they have a big potential to be one of the best players in the NAIA,” Green said. “We still have about six weeks until Nationals, so we will know more in the next few weeks, but I am sure that both of the players will improve their game, especially the mental aspect,” he adds.

Thomas Setodji plays doubles with Kevin Chaouat, a graduating senior, who is another French student in the team. The French duo is a good choice, according to their coach, because they have a good understanding between each other and a good vision of the game. The results confirm it: eight victories and one defeat.

Goreau plays doubles with Brandi Nelson, a junior, sales and marketing major. They both have a good offensive game and a very good control on the net, Green said. Xavier University of Louisiana has a rich tennis heritage that dates to the 1930s. The program continues to excel right now under the direction of Coach Alan Green. With his new line up, Green hopes to be able to carry both the men’s and women’s tennis team to the NAIA National Championship this year.

The team spent March 22-24 in Miami, Fla. for spring break where the men and women’s teams played against St. Thomas University, Keiser University and the American Safety Associates College, Miami. The men’s team is rank third and confirmed their spot by winning two important meetings in Miami. The women also won two of their meetings against St. Thomas University and Keiser University. These two wins gave them a very good chance to advance to the NAIA National Championship.

The most important match was against Keiser University. The team showed up strong and won the deciding ninth match in three sets. Keiser University is ranked eleventh in the tournament, so the win was a boost for the women’s team which was ranked in the sixteenth place. The first sixteen teams will advance to the NAIA National Championship. Green said he was very pleased by his team’s performance. The 2015-16 season is Green’s 13th season as a coach of XU’s tennis program. He has brought his men’s tennis team to the NAIA National Championship for the eighth time and the women’s team for the ninth time. Green said the consistent results are a combination of the rigorous and targeted practices, and the use of his bachelor’s degree in psychology, which allows for a good understanding of his players.

Now it remains to be seen whether two new French players are going to be ready and keep their outstanding results at the NAIA National Championship 2016 which will take place in Mobile, Ala. on May 17-May 21. The motivation remains in both teams. Last year, the men lost in the quarterfinals and the women in the semifinals, so there is definitely an opportunity to improve, Green said.

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