By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
MOBILE, Ala. – (Bracket) (Video Recap) (Schedule & Results) For the second-straight season, No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett will face off with No. 2 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) to see who will take home the national championship. After both earned wins in their semifinal matches, the two will meet up again with the red banner on the line. The title match will take place at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. for the fourth-straight year.
No. 2 Lindsey Wilson was the first of the two to punch its ticket to Saturday after capturing a 5-0 win over No. 11 William Woods (Mo.) in the national semifinals. The Blue Raiders got out fast going 3-0 in doubles over the Owls to take the lead into singles action. Lindsey Wilson got behind a little in its doubles competition, but were able to pull off the comebacks to maintain the lead. In singles, behind No. 1 Alex Shchipakina whose strong play led the Blue Raiders, three wins helped to advance them into Saturday for the rematch. With the loss, William Woods ended its season at 14-10.
“I felt like today was a different day. It was hot and very humid but the girls dealt with the situation and adversity,” said Lindsey Wilson head coach Marlon Dal Pont. “Overall, they played with a lot of energy and they were excited to be in the semifinals once again and once we got up 3-0 after doubles it just boosted up the energy a lot more. We followed our game plan since the beginning. Tomorrow we have a tough match again and looking forward to it.”
No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett is looking to win its fourth-straight national championship after holding off No. 4 Keiser (Fla.) in a 5-1 win in the national semifinals. After doubles, the Grizzlies held a 2-1 lead after dropping one team point early. Georgia Gwinnett seemed to refocus in the singles play as they got a quick 3-0 record over Keiser in doubles play. The three points pushed the Grizzlies to a 5-1 win at the end of the day, advancing the two-time national champions back into the title match where they will meet familiar foe in Lindsey Wilson Saturday afternoon.
“We came out and picked up two doubles wins which were key, once you get up 2-1 you have to feel good about your chances and we were able to get three singles clinched,” said Georgia Gwinnett head coach Chase Hodges. “It was great to get out of here in relatively quick time. We've got a big match tomorrow, it should be a great match.”
The national championship match is slated for a 1 p.m. CDT start Saturday afternoon.
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship, click here.