Georgia Gwinnett Pulls Off a Comeback Win
By Colbi Howser, Communications and Sports Information Intern
MOBILE, Ala. – (Bracket | Results | Video Recap) The Grizzlies of Georgia Gwinnett are two time NAIA Women’s Tennis National Champions. After weather forced multiple rain delays and pushed back first-round play, the championship match went off without a hitch as the Grizzlies claimed its second red banner over the Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 5-4
Georgia Gwinnett made its way through the national championship sweeping all opponents like Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), Indiana Wesleyan and SCAD Savannah (Ga.).
Veterans of the championship match, the Grizzlies had all eyes on the prize Saturday morning, walking into the championship match with zero matches lost to any NAIA opponent throughout the season. The Blue Raiders threatened to end that streak. Lindsey Wilson continued to rain terror on the Grizzlies going up 2-1 in at the end doubles play to force Georgia Gwinnett to win four out of the six singles matches to take home the trophy.
Georgia Gwinnett answered with wins from Valeria Podda, who never lost a single set in doubles or singles matches in this national championship, beating Hunar Munoz, 6-2, 6-2. It was juniors Klara Donhalova and Alona Vasilyeva who rose up and clinched a victory for the Grizzlies. Donhalova defeated Alex Shchipakina in a three set battle (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) to make the final match the most important. Vasilyeva did not disappoint taking Natalia Katiah into a three set thriller, ending in Vasilyeva’s favor and handing the Grizzlies the national championship.
The season for Lindsey-Wilson comes to a close at 21-5. The Blue Raiders did not make it easy for Georgia Gwinnett though, handing the Grizzlies its first-ever multiple match losses in this year’s national championship.
With today’s victory, the Grizzlies go 11-1 in three national championship appearances and 18-2 throughout the season.
The Marvin P. Richmond Award was presented to junior Valeria Podda of Georgia Gwinnett for her outstanding play, leadership and sportsmanship throughout the championship.