Grizzlies are national, regional champs in first season of eligibility

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There is a concept at Georgia Gwinnett known as “GGC time,” which refers to the rapid manner in which the college conducts business and achieves planned milestones.


Georgia Gwinnett athletics logo
Grizzly Athletics has taken “GGC time” to a new level, bringing home conference/unaffiliated titles and national championships in only its first year of postseason eligibility.

First, the men’s soccer team won the college’s first postseason championship last fall, and logged its first appearance in a national postseason tournament. The year’s signature win came as GGC hosted its first-ever postseason tournament, the 2013 Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) championship, where the Grizzlies dispatched national #3 Ashford (Iowa) by 3-0 to claim the title.

The team topped out at #9 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) coaches’ top 25 poll and finished at #18. The program is a stellar 30-7-1 over its first two seasons, with Steve DeCou earning his 150th career victory as a head coach. The women’s soccer team also achieved a top 25 ranking with a highly successful 14-4-1 campaign.

Then came spring semester and the Grizzly trifecta.

Women’s Tennis

Helena Korompis returns tennis volley
Helena Korompis, All-American Honorable Mention, is ranked with Valeria Podda as one of the nation’s top five double pairs.

Earning the college’s first #1 national coaches’ ranking in any sport, the women’s tennis team ended the regular season with a 13-3 record, defeating every NAIA team it played. The squad took second place in its conference/unaffiliated tournament, earning a second-seed at the NAIA national championships. Coach Chase Hodges remarked that while the team had lost the battle, “Hopefully, we can win the war.”

Taking their fight to NAIA’s national tournament in Mobile, Ala., the Grizzlies did win the war, and the national title – GGC’s historic first in intercollegiate athletics.

Men’s Tennis

Matias Hatem kissing trophy
Undefeated this year, Matias Hatem was named First Team All-American in men’s tennis.

Only a few hours later on the same courts, the men’s team repeated the feat, winning the national championship. The team ended the season with an unbeaten 21-0 record and the conference/unaffiliated title, as well. GGC is only the second college in history to win both the men’s and women’s tennis NAIA titles in the same year.

Read about one of the winningest coaches in all of college sports, tennis coach Chase Hodges.

Baseball

Baseball-1Meanwhile on the baseball diamond, the Grizzlies won their first postseason title after a rocky start at the A.I.I. tournament outside Boston. That championship earned the team a top seed in the five-team Lawrenceville Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. Again facing elimination after an early loss, the team strung together four straight must-win games to capture the Lawrenceville Bracket and punch their ticket to the program’s first-ever Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. As the tournament’s #6 seed, GGC fought hard but was eliminated among the nation’s final eight teams. Three players became GGC’s first to be drafted by Major League Baseball franchises.

Softball

NAIA logoThe softball team, while seeing its 39-10-1 season come to a close in the A.I.I. tournament, took the national #1 team to extra innings at one of the nation’s most competitive postseason tournaments. The team received votes in the coaches’ top 25 poll, making GGC 6-for-6 across all sports in its first season of poll eligibility.

The softball team also won the 2014 Buffalo Funds NAIA Champions of Character Softball Team award, out of 200 eligible programs. The Grizzlies earned this prestigious award for dedication to integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

This totals three conference and two national titles – all in the Grizzlies’ second year as a program and first year of postseason eligibility. The program finished with a 160-36-2 overall record across six sports, a winning percentage of .808.

“It’s truly been a remarkable year for Grizzly Athletics. We’ve been fortunate to build a program around outstanding coaches and terrific student-athletes, but to experience so much early success has been a thrill. We look forward to competing on the national level for years to come, as the word is already spreading about the GGC Grizzlies.”
– Dr. Darin S. Wilson, director of Athletics

Visit Grizzly Athletics for more information.

Please enjoy the 2 slideshows below.

Tennis players exchange high-five
Female tennis player returns volley
Men's tennis player high-fives line of teammates
Female tennis player returns volley
Female tennis player returns volley
Female tennis player returns volley
Tennis coach congratulates player
Two female tennis players waiting for doubles serve
Female tennis player returns volley
Female tennis opponents shake hands after match
Group of female tennis players
Female tennis player returns volley
Female tennis player returns volley
Tennis coach Chase Hodges
Men's tennis players shake hands with opponents
Male tennis player returns volley
Male tennis player returns volley
Male tennis player returns volley
Male tennis player returns volley
Male tennis player returns volley
Male tennis player returns volley
Male tennis player returns volley
Female tennis player runs to ball
Player throwing pitch
Baseball diamond from center field during game
Baseball player makes catch over shoulder
First baseman and second baseman battle to catch fly ball
Pitcher throwing baseball
Player dives for ground ball
Baseball player sliding head first
Baseball team huddles in outfield
Baseball player comes off field and greets teammates
Crowd at a baseball game
Baseball player fields ground ball
Baseball pitcher delivers fastball
Baseball batter hits ball
First base coach gives signals
Baseball player fields ground ball
Baseball player runs to first base
Player leans against fence
Baseball player looks into the distance
Child reaches through fence for Grizzly mascot
Baseball player fields ground ball
Coach and radio host chat during broadcast
Baseball player slides ahead of tag at second base
Baseball player swinging

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