Georgia Gwinnett College wins
100th straight match
Ron Cioffi | March 27, 2019
The number 100 has a nice ring to it. At the Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) courts, the sound was pure joy.
The men’s team reached a rare milestone Tuesday, cracking a number rarely seen in intercollegiate sports. With a 9-0 win over Northwestern Ohio, the Grizzlies won their 100th straight match. It is the longest current consecutive game streak in intercollegiate sports, according to the team's website.
Starting on April 5, 2015, with a narrow victory over West Florida, ranked No. 2 in Division II at the time, Georgia Gwinnett has steamrolled through the competition. The college went on to four straight NAIA titles, adding to the first one they won in 2014.
Still on the horizon are six other collegiate streaks, GGC Director of Sports Information Dale Long said. Miami (FL) men’s tennis went 137-0 from 1957-64, and BYU-Hawaii boasted a 130-0 record from 2002-15. ADVERTISEMENT Probably the most famous recent roll was compiled by the UConn women’s basketball team, which scored 110 wins before a loss.
It’s no surprise that the GGC men are ranked No. 1 nationally; the women’s team is also atop the NAIA rankings. The women’s team also has four NAIA titles.
In this match, Northwestern Ohio came in with a strong record of 8-6. But the Grizzlies had rolled to 17-0 and found little opposition.
Clinching the match with a win on the No. 2 court was Federico Bonacia. He said that he was unaware that he was the clincher.
“I am usually the last match on the court because I play so long,” he said with a smile.
However, the crowd surrounding his court had to be a clue. After match point, the team clad in Grizzly green jackets swarmed Bonacia.
“We were all excited to play in front of all the people who came today,” he said.
Long said they had specifically earmarked Tuesday as Spirit Day, and the flood of softball and baseball players, along with the women on the tennis team, ramped up the energy.
The 2019 spring season has been another breeze for the Georgia Gwinnett men. In the 18 matches they have played, they have 13 shutouts, losing only 11 courts.
Head tennis coach Chase Hodges knows the feeling of glory. Besides winning the nine titles with both GGC teams, he is a nine-time NAIA National Coach of the Year and a five-time ITA NAIA National Coach of the Year.
Asked when he thought he had a shot at a long winning streak, he said, “We won a national championship in 2015. About three-quarters into the 2016 season, I could see we had something really special here because we had a really good group of guys. For us to be able to keep it going is tremendous.”
He added that it’s so important to win at all lines because “you don’t get extra points for winning No. 1. We are very deep at 4, 5 and 6, and that’s where you win national titles."
How is the chance of continuing the streak? On Wednesday, the Grizzlies travel to Columbus State, the defending NCAA Division II champion. Another day, another test for the nation’s top team.
“I’ve thought about that (match) quite a bit. We can enjoy this today. … My biggest thing is ‘Let’s get ready for that match. Let’s put this behind us. Let’s go for 101.’“