Georgia Gwinnett captures fifth-straight national title
By Jed Flemming, Athletic Communications and Media Intern
MOBILE, Ala. – (Schedule & Results) (Video Highlights) Georgia Gwinnett captured their fifth-consecutive national championship with a dominant win today over No. 2 Keiser (Fla.). The Grizzlies did not lose a point throughout the tournament for the second-straight year.
“It is amazing. To have a championship program and be blessed to win five in a row is incredible. The guys here know that are program is more than just about an individual and they embrace that. For the match, Keiser came out very strong in doubles. Once we were able to capture those three wins, we felt pretty good about our chances. I am proud of my guys on the court, but I am more proud of who they are off of the court.” Georgia Gwinnett Head Coach Chase Hodges.
“It is a truly an amazing feeling. I have been here for three of the championships and I love being a part of this championship program. Seeing all of the fans drive five and a half hours to watch us is amazing. The atmosphere both on and off the court really helped motivate us. Knowing my friends back home are proud of me is a great feeling as well.” Georgia Gwinnett senior and Outstanding Player of the 2018 NAIA Men’s Tennis National Championship, Gilad Berman.
The Grizzlies took control of an early lead and never looked back. No. 1 doubles team of Kevin Konfederak and Gilad Berman dominated to set the tone for the match. The Grizzlies won 8-2 in No. 1 doubles, 8-4 in No. 2 doubles, and 8-5 in No. 3 doubles.
Georgia Gwinnett continued to thrive into the singles matches. Ayed Zatar earned the Grizzlies their fourth point of the match with a win over Adrian Frutos at the No. 3 singles spot. Georgia Gwinnett only needed one more point to capture their fifth title. Gilad Berman was the player to solidify the victory for the Grizzlies. At No. 2 singles, Gilad Berman finished with a 6-3 first set win and a 6-4 second set win to win the national title for Georgia Gwinnett.
Georgia Gwinnett finishes the season 27-0 and extends their winning streak to 82, which is the longest active win streak across all colleges.
The Grizzlies are now a perfect 20-0 all-time in the national championship tournament. Georgia Gwinnett is the only NAIA Tennis team with a perfect record at the national championships.
Since 2000 when the team format was implemented, the Grizzlies five national titles trail only former NAIA member Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) who had six.
2018 NAIA Men’s Tennis Outstanding Player of the Tournament: Gilad Berman, Georgia Gwinnett
2018 NAIA Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year: Chase Hodges, Georgia Gwinnett