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Georgia Gwinnett: Champs Again & Again; Emory Men Reigns

April 25, 2019 05:49 PM
Emory men were victorious in DIII.

By James Beck/Special to USTA Southern


If you want champions every year, it might be best to look to Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville. The Grizzlies coach Chase Hodges has repeated again as his men's and women's teams continue as NAIA champions.

The Gwinnett men completed an unbeaten (27-0) season in style in Mobile, AL, in the finals of the NAIA championships. The top-seeded Grizzles cruised past No. 7 Xavier (LA) University, 5-0, for their 109th consecutive team victory. That's four straight undefeated seasons and the current longest winning streak in college sports.

The Grizzlies were so dominant that four players were named first-team All-Americans. That's six consecutive national championships for the Gwinnett men.

The Gwinnett women's team isn't far behind, winning its fourth straight national title, and fifth in the last six years. Gwinnett's women's team had a little tougher time winning its second straight final against Keiser (FL) University, 5-2, to complete a 20-1 season.

"What a match to get the 11th national title for GGC tennis," Hodges said after the women's final.

The University of South Carolina finally has an NCAA national champion men's tennis player.

The Gamecocks' Paul Jubb pulled off the feat on Saturday in the NCAA Division I men's singles championship, overcoming the fear of losing for a third time this season to Mississippi State senior Nuno Borges.

Jubb, a slender 6-0, 141-pound junior from Hull, England, totally dominated play from the baseline in 97-degree heat at the USTA national campus in Orlando, FL, to take a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win in an almost total baseline struggle against Borges, a three-time Southeastern Conference player of the year.

When it was over, Jubb lay spread out on the warm, hard surface, weeping for joy with his hands over his face. South Carolina coach Josh Goffi, who grew up in Charleston,SC, while his dad, Carlos, served as pro at Seabrook Island, ran out and gave his star player a big hug.

"Unbelievable," was the way Jubb described his victory for a Tennis Channel world audience.

"I overcame so much mental toughness, overcoming that fear of losing to him (Borges) again.

"Regaining belief I could win . . . that was so big to me. Some way I did it."

Jubb committed very few errors, while using his huge forehands side-to-side to keep Borges tied to the baseline. Borges, the No. 1 seed, appeared to be a beaten man as he continually failed to handle those shots and committed errors.

"I stayed in control," said Jubb, the No. 4 seed. "I was so relentless with my feet . . . that was amazing. I am one of the toughest players from the back. I was just trying to keep that up throughout the match."

Jubb almost finished the job in the 10th game of the second set as he gained a match point against Borges' serve in the no-ad format. But Borges, a native of Portugal, survived that game for a 5-5 deadlock and exchanged service holds in the next two games to force the tiebreaker.

Jubb took charge of the tiebreaker with his heavy hitting, leaving little doubt once he took a 5-2 lead. Jubb ended it with a strong serve that he followed by stepping in on the return and nailing a forehand winner down the line.

Patrick Kaukovalta and Mazen Osama of the University of Alabama finished as runners-up in Division I NCAA men's doubles.


Emory University walked off with its fifth NCAA Division III men's national championship on Tuesday with a 5-3 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps of Los Angeles.

Playing in Kalamazoo, MI, the Eagles won their 18th consecutive match to finish with a 21-2 record, while handing Claremont (33-1) its only loss of 2019.

Emory's women's team suffered a 5-4 loss in the semifinals to eventual national champion Wesleyan (CT) College.

In NCAA Division II, Columbus (GA) State finished as runner-up in men's competition, suffering a 4-3 loss to Barry (FL) University in the final


Winning national championships are supposed to be difficult to win. So what's new?

USTA Southern came up short this time on NCAA Division I national team championships. The Wake Forest men won the NCAA Division I title last year, but a second-place prize for the Demon Deacons isn't bad. 

Wake Forest (34-4) had a great season, defeating Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina, 4-3, in the men's national semifinals. But the Big 12's Texas Longhorns were too strong for the Deacons in the championship match, taking a 4-1 victory over defending champion Wake Forest.

"The boys battled hard. They left it all out there," Wake Forest coach Tony Bresky said. "Texas was too good today, but credit to them. Amazing year, but obviously not the finish that we wanted."

The Deacons got off to a good start against Texas by winning the doubles point for just the second time in their six NCAA matches. But the Longhorns swept singles.

"We had an emotional, tough match (in win against North Carolina in the semifinals). We just didn’t recover quite as we wanted to, and it certainly showed as the match progressed," Bresky said.


The SEC’s Georgia women (28-1) had to upend Duke of the ACC in the semifinals to reach the national championship match. Perennial power and defending champion Stanford prevailed, 4-0, over Georgia in the title match.

The victory gave No. 3 Stanford its second straight national title and fourth consecutive final and avenged a 4-3 loss to the Bulldogs (28-2) in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's indoor championships in February. Stanford has won 20 NCAA women's tennis championships.

Stanford took the doubles point, then won three singles matches in straight sets to capture the national championship.

Georgia star Katarina Jokic took the first set of the NCAA Division I women's singles championship, but then dropped the last two sets as Estela Perez-Somarriba of the University of Miami won the national title, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3.


Ann Martin Skelly of Charleston, SC, advanced to the NCAA Division III women's doubles final for Vermont's Middlebury College. A sophomore at Middlebury, Skelley  played high school tennis for Porter-Gaud School. She and junior teammate Heather Boehm of Miami were the No. 2 seeds in doubles.


Click here to see the brackets of NCAA teams: Men DIWomen DIMen DIIWomen DIIMen DIIIWomen DIII.

Here are NAIA brackets: NAIA men and NAIA women.

James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier newspaper. See his Post and Courier columns.
Top photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw.