Mobile, Ala. – The North Greenville University men’s tennis team defeated Palm Beach Atlantic 5-3 Thursday morning at the Mobile Copeland-Cox Tennis Center to win the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association’s National Championship.
The Crusaders won their seventh NCCAA title in the last 12 years, but their first since the year 2007.
NGU went up 2-1 following the doubles against PBA as Kesha Sedov and Fred Vieira won at #2 and Marcos Souza and Hugo Ciarrocchi captured #3. Ciarrocchi won his match at #6 singles to give NGU a 3-1 lead in the match, but the Sailfish came back to tie the match at 3-3 with wins at #1 and #2 singles. Souza pulled out a win at #5 singles to get the Crusaders within one match win of the title. Luis Campos at #3 singles had lost the first set of his match and was down 2-0 in the second set when Vieira came through with a victory in the #4 singles position to clinch the championship for North Greenville.
Timor Kamilov (JR Tashkent, Uzbekistan) was named a NCCAA All-American and Kesha Sedov (JR Moscow, Russia) was Second Team. Kamilov and Luis Santos (SR Sao Paulo, Brazil) were second team in doubles.
Elliot, who has been the architect of all seven titles for NGU, said he was proud of his players because they handled themselves well on the courts and fought through many other factors besides tough opponents in Palm Beach Atlantic and Olivet Nazarene.
“The actual temperature in Mobile was 95 degrees, and it was well over 100 on the court, so took a lot of guts and heart to pull out this championship,” Elliot said. “No one on our team would allow anyone else to stop playing hard; they held each other accountable to keep going despite the factors against them. They represented North Greenville and the state of South Carolina very well.”
“I never did have a sense that we had the championship safely tucked away,” Elliot added. “That’s a tribute to Palm Beach and Olivet. They both had great teams. Either of those two matches could have gone either way, but we’re just happy to be coming home with another title.”
North Greenville has now won four NCCAA national championships in the last calendar year, with the baseball team winning in May 2010, football in the fall 2010, and cheerleading taking the national crown in spring 2011.