UNC women, Alabama, Georgia Gwinnett, Oxford/Emory win collegiate titles

Rick Limpert / Special to USTA Southern | May 30, 2023

With all NCAA titles being decided for the first time at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, the North Carolina's women's tennis team won its first NCAA championship as the Tar Heels beat NC State Wolfpack, 4-1, in a match featuring two ACC Conference rivals.


Alpharetta, Ga.’s Carson Tanguilig helped notch the doubles point for UNC and then earned a singles point to get the Tar Heels on the board.


It was their time, as the Tar Heel women have won the last four ITA Indoor Team National Championships, captured their first outdoor title to take their place as top women's squad in 2023.

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University of North Carolina women hold NCAA DI trophy.

“It feels surreal," explained North Carolina women's head coach Brian Kalbas. "When I first came to Carolina, my dream was to be a part of the national championship club. We’ve won ITA Indoor titles but have never won this one. For it to be this year with this team, means a lot. We’ve had great teams in the past and every team, every year led to this.”


This was the third meeting of the 2023 season between the Tar Heels and Wolfpack. UNC beat North Carolina State, 7-0, during the regular season in Chapel Hill, but NC State gained revenge to hand North Carolina its lone loss of the season. Both teams capped off impressive campaigns as UNC was 35-1 in dual meets, while NC State went 28-5.


UNC was making its first appearance in the NCAA championship match since 2014 and featured four players from the Southern Section. Sophie Abrams, a junior from Memphis, Tenn. played singles and doubles for the Wolfpack.


North Carolina defeated Virginia in the semifinals, while NC State eliminated Stanford.


Head coach Brian Kalbas says it was a true team effort as he becomes the 14th individual to win an NCAA title as head coach at Carolina.


“It’s amazing to see where our program started and where we are now. I’m happy with how this team won this title. NC State beat us in the ACC Championship match, and we had to look inward afterwards. That loss to NC State taught us a lot about ourselves and it ultimately equipped us for a deep postseason run.”

Ethan Quinn of UGA wins NCAA DI men's singles championship.
Quinn, UNC women score big in individual events

University of Georgia redshirt freshman Ethan Quinn saved four match points to score an improbable victory over Michigan’s Ondrej Styler 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-2 and become UGA’s first winner since 2002 Matias Boeker.


Matches were played at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.


Quinn earned 2023 SEC Freshman of the Year honors and was named to the All-SEC First Team and Freshman Team for his 2022-23 campaign.


He joins the company of Boeker (2001, 2002), Mikael Pernfors (1984, 1985) as the only three Georgia players to win a national singles title. The All-American is the fourth freshman to claim the crown since 1977, and the first Georgia player to advance to the finals since John Isner did in 2007.


The Fresno, Calif., native and second-seed saved four match points in the second set to force a tiebreak. He would go on to take the breaker and the third set versus No. 8 Styler.


After dropping the opening set, Quinn received a little help from Styler with two double-faults at 3-3. In the subsequent game at deciding point, Styler's running passing shot went just wide and out of reach from Quinn to earn the break back.


This was a championship match full of momentum shifts and the final one paid off for Quinn.


"Since I started college, my goal was to win the singles championship," explained Quinn. "Getting to achieve that goal is special and getting to join that list of guys is amazing. They had phenomenal careers, and I just hope my career can be just as good as theirs one day."


Longtime Georgia Men's Head Coach Manny Diaz was proud of his player.


"It was a match with a lot of big momentum swings," said Diaz. "In the end there, when Styler served for the match, you (need) to make some returns and he gave himself a chance. Ethan played with a little bit more freedom, and somehow it earned one point, then the other. It just seemed that time slowed down for him a little bit. He was patient when he needed to be and played assertively when he needed to in the end. I'm super proud of him for showing the grit and continuing to fight the good fight. He earned a great win for himself and our program."


It was an all Tarheel doubles final in the women's championship match. Adding to their team title, Fiona Crawley and Tanguilig defeated teammates Reese Brantmeier and Elizabeth Scotty. Crawley and Tanguilig won by a final score of 6-1, 2-6, [11-9] needing a match tiebreak for the victory. Crawley and Tanguilig went 21-7 in the 2022-23 season.


It was the first time the doubles title match featured two teams from North Carolina and the second time two ACC teams competed for the doubles championship. With national titles in 2007, 2021 and now 2023, this is also the second time in three years the Tar Heels have secured the doubles crown.


Alabama takes seventh straight Adaptive Tennis championship

"Roll Tide" takes on an additional meaning when you are talking about the dynasty that is Alabama Adapted Tennis.


Alabama Adapted’s Tennis squad earned an impressive seventh straight national crown, and their eighth overall. Alabama defeated their in-state rival, Auburn, to take the championship. In claiming the national title in Orlando, Fla., the Tide went 10-0 on the season.


Max Barbier, a sophomore from Abita Springs, La., is one of the leaders of the Crimson Tide squad. He's a Creative Media major who was ranked in the top-10 in the country coming to the Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.


Alabama has invested in their adapted teams as a few years ago the program was able to build a home tennis facility for their men's and women's teams. The Parker-Haun Tennis facility opened on the Alabama campus in October of 2021, and it is the only collegiate tennis facility in the United States made specifically for adapted athletics.


Georgia Gwinnett continues NAIA dominance

They keep collecting trophies at Georgia Gwinnett College.


For the fifth time overall, the Georgia Gwinnett College men's team completed a NAIA national championship without dropping a point. The Grizzlies' ninth straight national title came with a 4-0 sweep against Tennessee Wesleyan at the Mobile Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.


GGC has a 36-0 all-time record in NAIA postseason play. The No. 2-seeded Grizzlies defeated No. 15 seed St. Thomas (Fla.), No. 7 seed Xavier (Louisiana) and No. 6 seed Northwestern Ohio before being victorious against the No. 4 Bulldogs in the national tournament finale – all winning by 4-0 match scores.


The GGC men’s team had a 173-match consecutive win streak until Feb. 5 when Keiser University (Fla.) won their regular season contest. The streak is recognized as the longest in collegiate sports.


Alex Gurmendi helped the Grizzlies by winning an important doubles point in the finals and leading the team most of the season at No. 1 singles. The team completed the season with a 22-1 record.


Gurmendi was named the Ward-Ballinger Outstanding Player, presented annually to the individual who exhibited outstanding play, leadership and sportsmanship during the NAIA Championships. Gurmendi had a 17-1 record in singles and was unbeaten in 20 doubles matches this spring.


The Georgia Gwinnett women needed a memorable doubles rally to win the seventh straight NAIA national championship by defeating Keiser University (Fla.) 4-1 in the final match in Mobile.


The GGC women’s win was especially sweet as Keiser broke the Grizzlies’ 63-win streak in February.


After winning the doubles point, the momentum carried over to strong play by the Grizzlies in singles. With the team winning the opening set on five of the six singles matches. They also built early leads in four second sets, even though Keiser had tied the match, 1-1, with a straight-set victory on the No. 1 court.


GGC took the lead for good behind a strong singles performance by senior Angel Carney at No. 5. Her serve was dominant and that included match point as she hit a service winner for a 7-5, 6-2 victory.


The NAIA national title marks the eighth in program history for the Grizzlies, as they finished the spring season with a 21-1 record.


GGC and Keiser were playing in the national title match for the fifth consecutive season.


“Unbelievable effort by both teams,” offered Georgia Gwinnett men’s and women’s head coach Hannah Keeling. “So proud of these teams. It’s what we work towards all year and the expectations stay the same. They played well under pressure and big moments all week. This team is a family and they played their heart and soul out for each other to continue the dynasty and to bring home the titles.”


In her first year at the helm of both GGC teams, Keeling was named NAIA Coach of the Year for men’s and women’s teams.


Oxford College of Emory University for second consecutive year

The Oxford College of Emory University claimed the 2023 NJCAA Division III Men's Tennis National Championship in dominating fashion. The tournament was hosted at Oxford College for the second consecutive year.


The Eagles earned 36 points, the maximum amount a team could achieve. They also claimed each flight in both singles and doubles, which is only the second time the Eagles have accomplished this feat. 


NCAA Division II finalists

The Columbus (Ga.) State Cougars had quite a ride to the finals of the Men's DII Championship in Orlando to face a familiar opponent. Columbus State and Barry (Fla.) have competed in four of the last five NCAA championships, with Barry winning three of the four matchups. The Cougars again earned a runner-up finish to end the season with a 21-5 record.


Columbus State advanced to the championship match with a 4-2 win against University of Indianapolis, using a quick start in singles play after claiming the doubles point. In the quarterfinals, the Cougar squad disposed of a tough Hawaii Pacific team 4-1.


Freshman, Santiago Perez of Colombia held down the top singles spot for most of the season. He was dominant in postseason play including in the Peach Belt Conference tournament, where he went undefeated.



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