Georgia Gwinnett Takes Home 2017 NAIA Men's Tennis Title
By Scott Barker, NAIA Media Coordinator
MOBILE, Ala. – (Bracket) (Video Recap) (Schedule & Results) The Grizzlies of Georgia Gwinnet won their fourth-straight NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship on Saturday at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.
Georgia Gwinnett defeated Xavier (La.), 5-0, to claim the programs fourth red banner. The Grizzles entered the NAIA in 2014 and have claimed the men's title all four years.
After breezing through the tournament, winning all matches 5-0, the Grizzles finish the regular-season with a perfect 23-0 and have won 54-straight matches.
“It is incredible. Its just so hard to maintain this level of play,” said Georgia Gwinnett head coach Chase Hodges. “Its much easier to get to the top than to remain at the top and that's what we have been able to do the last four years. When everyone is coming after you its very very difficult and its just a true testament to the guys that we have. Our guys just rise up to the challenge every match and today was no different. I have a lot of respect for coach [Alan] Green and Xavier. He's done a great job leading them to two-straight national championships.”
The Grizzlies started off strong by claiming all three doubles (8-4, 8-4, 8-6) and finished off the match by winning singles at No. 5 (6-2, 6-0 - clincher) and No. 6 (6-0, 6-4).
Xavier (14-6), appearing in its second-straight final, advanced to the championship after defeating Keiser (Fla.) 5-1 in the semifinals.
The Gold Rush, making its ninth tournament appearance, now owns a 13-9 record at the championships.
Jordan Cox of Georgia Gwinnet was named Ward-Ballinger Tournaments Most Outstanding Award and Chase Hodges, Grizzlies head coach was named Coach of the Year.
Georgia Gwinnett, now 16-0 at the championships, holds the fourth most wins in tournament history – Former-member Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) is first with 45 wins. The Grizzles four championships are second all-time behind Auburn-Montgomery who had six titles.