GGC Tennis Closes Out Season in Impressive Fashion

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It was another strong showing for the Georgia Gwinnett tennis program on Sunday as the Grizzlies closed out the fall season emphatically by picking up three flight titles at the second annual Grizzly Open at GGC Tennis Facility.

“I’m glad that we had a chance to finish the fall season on a high note,” GGC Head Coach Chase Hodges said. “We had a lot of good performances. Now we’ll be able to start preparing for spring, and we’ll have a little bit of down time before we hit the courts again in January.”

The highlight of the morning for the Green and Gold came in doubles as the team of Jordan Cox and Matias Hatem started their day with an 8-2 victory over a team from Alabama-Huntsville. The duo of Luke Morland and Lachlan McPhee followed suit with an 8-4 decision against Florida Southern to secure an all-GGC final.

The match against their Australian counterparts proved to be the most competitive of the weekend, but ultimately Cox and Hatem pulled out the win in 8-6 fashion.

The top flight of both the men’s and women’s singles brackets also ended with GGC on top. Connor Clements picked up a 6-3, 6-4 win over Georgia State’s Joseph Bishop before advancing to the final with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Erik Moberg, who was playing unattached.

In the final, Clements was matched up with a Division II All-American in Armand Levandi, but he proved more than up to the task, winning 6-3, 6-3.

“I think Connor may have been the big highlight for us,” Hodges said. “The kid that he played in the final is a very high-level player that’s had a great career, and he advanced to the final of Division II at the national championships. For Connor to pick up a win like that has got to be huge for his confidence.”

On the women’s side, Valeria Podda started her day with a 7-6, 6-2 win over Lewis’ Nora Mindiyarova to punch her ticket to the final, where she would go on to post a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Barry’s Elisabeth Abanda.

“Valeria beat some really good players this weekend,” Hodges said. “I think she’s further established herself as one of the top players in the country, and really at any level, with what she did today.”

In other singles action, Levandi knocked both McPhee and Stefano Licata out of the tournament with 6-4, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-0 victories, respectively. Licata also had a win on the day, beating Emory’s Roberto Bazzarella 6-2, 4-6, 10-8. Luma Schwab also went 1-1, winning 6-3, 6-2 against Emory’s Stephanie Loutsenko and falling 6-2, 6-3 to Loutsenko’s teammate Marissa Levine.

The Grizzly Open, which featured teams from 16 schools, was the final fall event for the GGC tennis teams, and they closed it out in fashion, picking up 30 victories over the course of the three-day event in addition to the three flight titles.

The Grizzlies will return to action in January, and both teams will be aiming to defend last year’s national championships.

Kaitlyn Richards-Lynn is a senior at Duluth High School. She has been an active member of her school’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams for the past three years. She is also a member of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team and Student Body Vice President.

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