Jaguar Men's Tennis Archives Seventh Place NJCAA National Tournament 2011

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June 21, 2011

Jaguars sign pair from Cobb County’s Wheeler, Pope high schools

Preston Samowitz, of Class AAAAA champion Pope, signs with Georgia Perimeter College, seated in front of GPC men’s tennis coach Mohamed Nait Omar. The coach says the Jaguars are "very excited to have him."

Wheeler’s Patrick Smith (seated, right, in front of GPC coach Mohamed Nait Omar), part of the No. 1 doubles team that was third in its region, signs with Georgia Perimeter College. Nait Omar calls Smith "a strong lefty" and "a great addition to the GPC men’s tennis team."

Stay tuned to this website as further details become available.

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May 20, 2011

Kante shares in pair of national titles for seventh-place Jaguars

When Mohamed “Reda“ Nait Omar recruited Salif Kante to play tennis at Georgia Perimeter College, he expected big things from the Senegal native.

But not even the coach could have anticipated Kante delivering a pair of national championships to the Jaguars.

Salif Kante, serving at the national tournament in Plano, Texas

Kante won an abbreviated match Friday to claim the No. 1 singles title at the NJCAA tournament in Plano, Texas.

Then he joined forces with Ismail Lemtouni to win the No. 1 doubles crown. Lemtouni also brought home the runner-up trophy in the No. 2 singles flight.

The triumphant final day of the week-long event left GPC in seventh place with 25.5 points, 1.5 ahead of Region 17 rival Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Vincennes (Ind.) University took the team title with 43 points.

Kante, the No. 2 seed in the top flight, was leading Jair Assuncao 5-1 in the opening set when the third seed from Laredo (Texas) Community College retired with an injury.

“I think Salif wound have beaten him either way,” Nait Omar said. “He was pretty dominant.”

Assuncao apparently hurt his leg early in the match and could not recover.

Kante “was a good player” when he arrived at GPC, according to his coach, “but he really improved a lot.”

He and Lemtouni rallied after a desultory start to defeat Alex Sanders and Michael Tymkiw of Collin (Texas) College 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.

Nait Omar said his top-seeded tandem was overconfident early on against its unseeded opponent.

“They were a little too relaxed,” said the coach, who chastised them after the first set. “They were sleeping. Then they got into the match.”

Still, the Jaguars had to fight off a match point in the second set to win the tie-breaker 8-6.

A downpour in the middle of the third set forced the players to move indoors. “That helped us,” said Nait Omar, noting that he was able to instruct his players on strategy to close out the match.

In singles, Lemtouni could not repeat the feat of his teammate and fell to Matt Campbell of Tyler (Texas) Junior College 6-0, 7-6 in the second flight finals. The fourth-seeded Lemtounti, a freshman from Morocco who knocked out the flight favorite in the semifinals on Thursday, was unable to follow it up against the No. 2 seed.

“The inexperience got to him,” Nait Omar said. “When he gets impatient, he rushes it a little bit.”

Lemtouni nearly pulled out the second set, losing the tie-breaker 8-6.

“If he would have closed out the second set, he would have had an edge over the other guy mentally,” Nait Omar said.

Kante is bound for Florida A&M and will pass the baton to Lemtouni next season, giving GPC an opportunity to defend the top flight singles title.

“Ismail will be very strong,” said Nait Omar, who expects the seventh-place finish to be a boon in recruiting.

Just maybe there is another Salif Kante out there to team up with Lemtouni.

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May 19, 2011

Kante, Lemtouni each one win from a championship

The twin towers of Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis are still standing as the NJCAA tournament in Plano, Texas, enters the final rounds on Friday.

Sophomore Salif Kante, the No. 2 seed in the top flight of singles, disposed of unseeded Benjamin Renac from Vincennes (Ind.) University 6-1, 7-5 Thursday.

In the second flight, freshman teammate Ismail Lemtouni pulled an upset. The fourth seed defeated flight favorite Michael Tymkiw of host school Collin (Texas) College 6-4, 6-3.

Only Jair Assuncao of Laredo (Texas) Community College stands between Kante and a championship. The No. 3 seed took out flight favorite Alex Sanders of Collin 6-4, 7-6.

Lemtouni confronts No. 2 seed Matt Campbell of Tyler (Texas) Junior College for the second flight crown. Campbell beat No. 3 Bruno Kliskinic of Laredo 6-4, 6-3.

Kante and Lemtouni also continued to live up to their No. 1 seed in the premier doubles flight. They overcame the Tyler pair of Campbell and Mario Jakovljavic, third seed, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

The Jaguars’ duo will face unseeded Tykkiw and Sanders for the championship. The Collin contingent surprised second seed Adem Mumcu and Jose Zaatini of Vincennes 6-2, 6-4.

The GPC successes in the top flights gave the Jaguars 23.5 points, seventh most in the 27-team tournament. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is tied for eighth with 23. Tyler leads with 40.

“Where we are going to finish is huge for Georgia Perimeter,” coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar said. With three victories Friday, the Jaguars would wind up with 26.5 points.

Nait Omar noted that Kante had an easy time in his first set but was challenged in the second.

“I’m pretty confident with him” in the finals, the coach said, “but he has a pretty tough match.”

Lemtouni was especially impressive. “He took [Campbell] out pretty handily. I like his chances,” Nait Omar said.

As doubles partners, they have clicked because Kante has wielded a powerful serve and effective game at the net, while Lemtouni has excelled with his forehand near the baseline.

“They are playing very well,” the coach said.

GPC’s Christian Bellina, plagued by a sore hip and feeling the effects of three matches the day before, fell in singles and doubles.

The seventh-seeded Bellina, who was outstanding throughout the Wednesday marathon, bowed to unseeded Jason Wright of Hartford (Md.) Community College 6-3, 6-4 in the third flight consolation finals. A win would have moved him back into contention for a title.

Bellina and Jeremy Dunham were blanked by sixth seed Zach Morroy and Andres Yepez of Meridian (Miss.) Community College 6-0, 6-0 in the second flight doubles.

“Christian is the man of the week,” Nait Omar said, observing that Bellina played through pain and ideally needed more to recover between matches.

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May 18, 2011

Kante, Lemtouni cruise into NJCAA singles semifinals

Salif Kante and Ismail Lemtouni reached the semifinals of the NJCAA men’s tennis tournament Wednesday in straight sets as Georgia Perimeter College moved into ninth place in Plano, Texas.

Each captured his second match without defeat this week. Kante, No. 2 seed in the top singles flight, conquered No. 7 Zach Evenden of Cowley (Kan.) College 6-3, 6-3. Lemtouni, fourth seed among the second flight players, put away Admire Mushonga of Seminole State (Okla.) Community College 6-1, 6-4.

The Jaguar pair had enough energy left for a 6-0, 7-5 victory in the top flight doubles over Maksim Fil and Miklas Sparr of Johnson County (Kan.) Community College. Kante-Lemtouni are the No. 1 seed.

GPC has accumulated 20.5 points through three days. The co-leaders, with 35 points apiece, are Vincennes (Ind.) University and Tyler (Texas) Junior College. “It’s a pretty good achievement,” said coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar. “Huge.”

Omar said Kante “started a little but tight, but got going and finished strong.”

Lemtouni, by contrast, was efficient from the start, his coach said. “Very intense. He was committed to every shot. He wasn’t willing to give up any points.”

Christian Bellina

In the third singles flight, Christian Bellina, relegated to the consolation bracket with a previous loss, stayed alive with two triumphs, capped by a thrilling three-setter.

The No. 7 seed disposed of Wesley Raines from Itawamba (Miss.) Community College 6-2, 6-3 and Tom Reynolds of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (10-8).

Bellina, dealing with a sore hip, was near the end against Reynolds, behind 8-3 in the third-set tie-breaker, before winning the next seven points.

“He came through big-time,” Omar said, citing the injury. “He fought through it.”

Ramin Zamani followed a first-round win on the fifth flight earlier in the week with a 6-0, 6-0 loss to No. 3 seed Vasili Caripi of Tyler.

Jeremy Dunham

Wrapping up a busy day of singles for GPC was Jeremy Dunham’s 6-0, 6-2 defeat to Trey Webb of Mereidian (Miss.) Community College in the consolation quarterfinals of the sixth flight.

All three Jaguars doubles entrants were in action.

Bellina, surviving his third match for the day, and Dunham teamed up in the consolation draw of second flight doubles to take out the Jones County (Miss.) Junior College tandem of Nick Williams and Armand Denaikos 6-3, 6-4.

Zamani, with Brian Le at his side, went down in the third doubles flight, 6-2, 6-4 to Justin Foster and Jay Gillespie of Collin (Texas) College, evening their record for the tournament.

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May 17, 2011

Kante, Lemtouni open at nationals with wins in No. 1 and 2 singles

Georgia Perimeter College’s one-two punch in men’s tennis opened with wins—one easy, one difficult—Tuesday at the NJCAA national championships in Plano, Texas.

Salif Kante

Salif Kante, the second seed in the top flight, handled Ed Spilman of Temple (Texas) Junior College 6-2, 6-1.

“Salif played very well,” GPC coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar said. “He advanced with a lot of confidence.”

Ismail Lemtouni, seeded fourth in the second flight, spotted Kane Olsen a set advantage before rallying to defeat the foe from Johnson County (Kan.) Community College 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Nait Omar said a change in strategy saved Lemtouni. In the first set, the Jaguar played shots to Olsen’s forehand. At the coach’s suggestion, Lemtouni switched to forcing Olsen to use his backhand.

Ismail Lemtouni

“Ismail was able to dictate the point from a more overall offensive position,” Nait Omar said.

The duo took the court together as the top seed in the premier doubles flight and downed Laericio Lobo-Nathan Nelmes of Seward County (Kan.) Community College 6-1, 6-1. Separately and as a pair, Kante and Lemtouni moved on to the quarterfinals Wednesday. They had received byes into the round of 16.

Christian Bellina did not fare as well in the third singles flight. The No. 7 seed, bothered by a hip injury, was bounced into the losers’ bracket by Nei Dos Santos of Cowley County (Kan.) Community College 6-3, 7-5.

GPC’s Brian Le, a winner in the first round Monday, stumbled to No. 3 seed Patrick Clynes of Vincennes (Ind.) University 6-0, 6-1 in the fourth flight. Le “was outmatched in that one,” Nait Omar said.

Also, Le and Ramin Zamani, who triumphed Monday in the opening round of the third flight doubles, fell to Duston Foster and Jay Gillespie of Collin (Texas) College 6-1, 6-4. With the three victories in the top flights, “we are doing very good,” Nait Omar said. “We are fighting with the top guns in the tournament.”

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May 16, 2011

Le and Zamani win first matches at nationals

Brian Le and Ramin Zamani got the Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team off to a good start Monday with wins in singles and doubles on the first day of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1 national tournament in Plano, Texas.

Playing in the No. 4 flight, Le took down McEnroe Apostol from College of DuPage 6-1, 6-2. At No. 5, Zamani downed John Michael Catalano of USC-Lancaster by an identical score.

Zamani, with Le as his partner, also handled Catalano at No. 3 doubles. The Lancaster duo, which included Joey Martin, fell to the Jaguars pair 6-1, 6-0

Martin extracted a measure of revenge in singles, beating GPC’s Jeremy Dunham 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 in the No. 6 flight. And Apostol of Dupage evened things at No. 2 doubles, teaming with Peter Ralph to upend Dunham and Christian Bellina 6-1, 6-4.

The three wins gave GPC six points, good for a three-way tie for 11th place in the tournament. Cowley County Community College leads with 16 points. All of Monday’s participants continue play Tuesday. The Jaguars’ two premier players, Salif Kante and Ismail Lemtouni, received byes and make their debut on the tournament’s second day, Tuesday.

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May 12, 2011

ITA names Nait Omar top coach, Kante top senior player

The Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team will enter the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament in Plano, Texas, with an even shinier resume than it had just a few days ago.

Coach Mohamed "Reda" Nait Omar gives Ismail Lemtouni a few pointers during a match.

That’s because Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar has been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Region 4 Coach of the Year and his top singles player, Salif Kante, has been voted the region’s Senior Player of the Year.

Coming in just Nait Omar’s third season at Georgia Perimeter, it is another step toward the restoring the Jaguars’ reputation as a two-year college tennis powerhouse. The Jaguars won four straight Division 2 men’s national championships from 1998 through 2001 and a women’s title in 2000.

“My award speaks well of the guys as a team,” said Nait Omar. “It is a great honor. When you’re voted by your peers, it means much more. A big consideration was that we rebuilt the program to the national level.”

Salif Kante

Kante is undefeated and ranked fourth nationally by the ITA among two-year players this season. He is coming off a Most Valuable Player Award he won in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament last month after snaring the region’s No. 1 singles title and sharing its No. 1 doubles championship with partner Ismail Lemtouni.

With help from an aunt and uncle in Metro Atlanta, skilled coaching from Nait Omar and his own rousing success at GPC, Kante overcame his initial homesickness.

“It was a challenge for me at first,” he said. “Now, I am very happy to be here. I made the right decision.”

Though Kante’s efforts couldn’t prevent the Jaguars from losing to eventual GCAA champion and perennial tennis power Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, a change in the tournament format helped them punch their ticket for Texas.

This year, for the first time, the runner-up in the GCAA (NJCAA Region 17) goes to the national tournament as well as the champion.

How the Jaguars are getting to the tournament with a 5-6 record will be of little importance once the first serve goes up. The fact is, they are there, with at least a chance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their last championship in grand style.

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May 11, 2011

Jaguar Journal: Plan takes GPC down long road back to nationals

The coach had a plan. A native of Morocco, he would use his extensive tennis contacts in North Africa to recruit top-grade players who would complement the home-grown talent. Then he would upgrade the non-region schedule, toughening his team for the critical matches against league foes.

In the third year of his plan, coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar and the Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team have seen it bear fruit. The Jaguars are headed to the National Junior College Athletics Association Division I tournament in Plano, Texas, which starts May 16 and runs through May 20.

“This shows the program is back to where it was once before,” Nait Nait Omar said.

The Jaguars once lorded over their division of NJCAA tennis, sweeping four Division 2 consecutive national championships from 1998 to 2001. They were runners-up in 2003 and ’04.

They have returned—this time in Division 1—despite a narrow 5-4 defeat to perennial power Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in the Region 17 championship match. This year the NJCAA tourney welcomes first- and second-place schools from each region.

Nait Omar was hired on as a Mr. Fix-it when the program fell on hard times. The cornerstone of his efforts is Salif Kante, a sophomore from Senegal.

“That’s our top gun,” Nait Omar said. “He has developed his game with great adjustments. He is quite determined to follow through on what the coach says.”

Kante arrived as a baseline player, taking a defensive posture that invited his opponents to commit an error and end the point.

Nait Omar told the 6-foot-5 Kante, “You are tall. You have to go to the net more often.”

Kante had heard such advice before, from a former coach—his dad. This time, the message sunk in.

“It took me two or three months to get used to it,” said Kante. “He hasn’t seen me play this season, but based on what he’s heard, he’s proud of me.”

Kante sailed unbeaten through this season and was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA Region 17) Most Valuable Player. Ranked fourth on the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles poll, he earned a full scholarship from Florida A&M.

Last year, Nait Omar circled back to his native country and signed Ismail Lemtouni, who has excelled and gained a No. 12 singles ranking from the ITA.

At the region tournament, Lemtouni became frustrated after falling behind 3-1. The coach got him back on track.

“I knew he could deliver,” Nait Omar said. “He turned around and won the match.”

Kante and Lemtouni have meshed in doubles, riding a perfect season to a No. 3 national ranking by ITA.

Sophomore Christian Bellina, from Shiloh High School near Snellville, contributed a remarkably successful season at No. 3 singles after missing last season with an ACL injury.

“He’s very competitive,” Nait Omar said. “He always looks into his strategies, always reads what he needs to do from match to match. He helped the team get to nationals.”

Rounding out the lineup in Texas will be Brian Le, a freshman from Norcross High; freshman Ramin Zamani, from Tabriz, Iran; and Jeremy Dunham, a freshman who also hails from Shiloh.

With a 5-5 record and a No. 14 team ranking by ITA, the Jaguars plan to make some noise at the nationals. Depth has improved under Nait Omar, but he acknowledges the need for even more.

“Let’s hope our Nos. 4, 5 and 6 guys will feed off the success at the top of the lineup at the tournament,” he said.

JAGUAR JOLTS: The common heritage among the international players on the roster is evidenced in activities such as team cookouts. The fare includes kabobs, couscous, lamb and Mediterranean salads that remind the Africans of cuisine back home. The soundtrack of the gatherings often is heard in French, the native tongue for some. Kante serves as captain, delivering pep talks to others while fostering a team attitude that can be elusive in this individual sport. “We work as a family,” Nait Omar said. “Nobody is treated as special.” The team began the long bus ride to Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Saturday morning. The tournament, hosted by Collin College, will be held on courts scattered throughout Plano. The teams will gather for a banquet Sunday night at the college. The Jaguars are attending the tournament on the 10th anniversary of the last GPC national championship, in NJCAA Division 2. The 2001 team was coached by Chris Decker, who had served as assistant to Billy Pate. Pate had coached the previous three national championship teams from 1998 to 2000. He left GPC to take the head coaching job at Notre Dame and later took the helm at Alabama. The women’s team, coached by Joyce Garrett, won the national championship in 2000, giving GPC a sweep of the men’s and women’s Division 2 titles that year.

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April 22, 2011

GPC headed to nationals despite close 5-4 loss; Kante wins MVP

Georgia Perimeter College’s men’s tennis team is headed to the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament despite a narrow defeat in the NJCAA Region 17 tournament.

The Jaguars lost 5-4 to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in the championship match of the tournament Friday at the Red Hill Athletic Center in Tifton. But, because of a tournament format change this season, the region runner-up also goes to the national tournament, which will be held in Plano, Texas, from May 15-20.

Salif Kante, undefeated and ranked fourth nationally, was named Most Valuable Player after winning the No. 1 men’s singles and doubles flights.

Salif Kante

The Jaguar team came agonizingly close to winning the region team championship match with ABAC.

Kante defeated ABAC’s premier singles player—Hernan Hatem, who carries a No. 7 national ranking—6-3, 6-3. He teamed with Ismail Lemtouni to take the doubles by an identical score.

The Jaguars also got points in singles from Lemtouni, who eked past Martin Regan 7-5, 6-3, and Christian Bellina, who upended Tom Reynolds 6-4, 6-3.

The Stallions’ depth proved crucial as they handily won the singles matches at Nos. 4 through 6, plus the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles encounters.

GPC’s Brian Le fell to Taylor Hardy 6-3, 6-0. Ramin Zamani went down to Danilo Faria 6-1, 6-0. Jeremy Dunham bowed to Derrick Taylor 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles, Bellina-Dunham stumbled to Reynolds-Taylor 6-2, 6-3, while Zamani-Le were no threat to Hatem and Faria 6-1, 6-0.

“I’m proud of the guys and how they fought,” said GPC coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar.

The Jaguars defeated ABAC in the fall season, then the Stallions evened things up with a 6-3 win earlier this spring.

ABAC’s head coach Alan Kramer was named Coach of the Year for both men and women.

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April 16, 2011

Shorter College defeats Jaguars 7-2

Salif Kante helped Georgia Perimeter College avoid a men’s tennis shutout Saturday, winning at singles and doubles as the Jaguars succumbed to Shorter College 7-2 in wind-swept Rome.

Kante, GPC’s premier player, stopped Guilaume Ledrap 6-3, 6-3 and joined hands with Ismail Lemtouni to halt Badr Cherradi and Thibault Langeard in doubles 8-4.

The Hawks (9-2), with their top five players from France, swept the rest of the matches to remain perfect at home.

Only Ramin Zamani came close to winning a set for GPC. He lost to Longeard 6-4, 6-0.

Lemtouni could not equal his doubles effort, falling to Cherradi 6-0, 6-2. Christian Bellina was taken down by Eric Tucoulou 6-1, 6-1. Nathan Singleton was stifled by Bastien Russo 6-1, 6-1. Jeremy Dunham was pointless against Grayson Jones, 6-0, 6-0.

Bellina-Singleton battled in doubles, but Ledrap-Tucoulou survived 8-4. Zamani-Dunham was downed by Tim Gambrell and Cody Carr 8-2.

The Jaguars (5-5), having closed their regular season with three straight setbacks, try to get back on track at the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, which begins Friday in Tifton. The conference is also Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

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April 8, 2011

Coastal Georgia slips past Jaguars

Behind the efforts of dynamic duo Salif Kante and Ismail Lemtouni, Georgia Perimeter College extended College of Coastal Georgia to the final men’s tennis match Friday before bowing 5-4 on the Dunwoody courts.

GPC’s two premier players won handily in singles -- Kante 6-0, 6-2 over Laurenz Schraepen and Lemtounti over Mulhar Mahi 6-0, 6-1. In doubles, they outlasted Schraepen and James Carr 8-6.

For the Jaguars (5-4), the day’s most satisfying match was Christian Bellina’s three-setter over Carr. Battling from an early deficit, Bellina began finishing his approach shots and won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The outcome boiled down to the No. 6 singles encounter. GPC’s Jeremy Dunham could not put away the Mariners’ Takashi Koga, falling 6-3, 6-3.

The Dunham-Bellina tandem were beaten 8-5 in doubles by Koga and Gustavo Abad, while Brian Le and Ramin Zamini stumbled 8-1 to Mahi and Connor Bond.

Le succombed in singles to Abad 6-1, 6-4, and Zamani suffered the same fate to Bond 6-2, 6-1.

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April 4, 2011

Powerhouse Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College tops Jaguars

Depth was the difference Monday as Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s powerhouse men’s tennis team took down Georgia Perimeter College 6-3 Monday on the Dunwoody campus.

The Jaguars (5-3) got their usual impressive showing from the roster’s top pair. Salif Kante coasted over Hernan Hatem 6-0, 6-1 and Ismail Lemtounti defeated Taylor Hardy 6-2, 6-2.

Kante and Lemtouni were even greater than the sum of their parts in doubles, overwhelming Hardy and Martin Regan 8-1.

The rest of the GPC lineup could not generate a single point, failing even to take a set.

Brian Le bowed to Tom Reynolds 6-2, 6-0, Christian Bellina to Derrick Taylor 6-2, 6-4. Nathan Singleton could not handle Danilo Faria 6-0, 6-3, nor could Ramin Zamani deal with Christian Rincon 6-3, 6-2.

In doubles, Bellina-Singleton and Zamani-Le lost 8-4 to Taylor-Reynolds and Faria-Hatem, respectively.

The Golden Stallions from Tifton are the perennial Region XVII champions, having twice won a national title and finishing third in 2008 and ’09 in the NJCAA tournament.

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April 2, 2011

Georgia Perimeter wins fifth straight; blanks USC-Lancaster

Surviving a scare in one doubles match, the Georgia Perimeter College scored a 9-0 men’s tennis shutout of South Carolina-Lancaster Saturday on the Dunwoody Campus.

GPC (5-2) secured its perfect day when Ramin Zamani and Brian Le outlasted Justin Lewis and Joey Nylund in a tie-breaker 9-8, winning seven of 11 points in the extra session. The victory is the fifth consecutive win for the Jaguars.

Salif Kante and Ismail Lemtounti took the other doubles match, 8-2 over Pedro Rodriguez and Henry Remache.

All five singles victories were in straight sets over the Lancers, who played Friday and had a second match scheduled Saturday.

The most dominant was at No. 2, where Lemtouni blanked Remache 6-0, 6-0. Zamani had an easier time than in doubles, handling John Michael Catalano 6-2, 6-1.

Kante, the top singles player, defeated Rodriguez 6-2, 6-3, while Christian Bellina downed Justin Lewis by the same score. Le tripped up Nylund 6-2, 6-2. The final two points were acquired by default.

Next up for the Jaguars is a highly anticipated home match against Abraham Baldwin College at 2 p.m. Monday on the Dunwoody courts. In both men’s and women’s tennis, ABAC has been the champion of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association for many consecutive years.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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March 23, 2011

Jaguars post fourth consecutive victory

The Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team continued its winning ways after a rough start to the season, blanking Morehouse College 9-0 Wednesday on the Dunwoody Campus.

GPC won its fourth straight following two opening losses and has not lost a match in the last two outings.

The only scare against the Marroon Tigers came in singles, when Nathan Singleton dropped the first set to John Oliver. He kept his composure and rallied to a 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory.

As usual, the Jaguars’ two premier players were clicking on all cylinders. Salif Kante took his singles match 6-0, 6-1, while Ismail Lemtouni was almost as dominant, winning 6-1, 6-1. They joined forces for an 8-0 win in doubles.

Christian Bellina, the No. 3 singles player, coasted 6-1, 6-2, then teamed with Singleton for an 8-1 triumph in doubles.

Completing the GPC sweep were Ramin Zamani (6-0, 6-2) and Brian Le (6-4, 6-1). They shared the court in doubles, winning 8-4.

The Jaguars resume play at 9 a.m. Saturday on their home courts against Gadsden (Ala.) State Community College.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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March 20, 2011

Jaguars net shutout; improve to 3-2

Sunday was a productive day for the Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team, as the Jaguars defeated Oxford of Emory 9-0 on the GPC home courts at Dunwoody Campus.

Georgia Perimeter (3-2) did not drop a single game in five of its six singles match and allowed the Eagles to take just three games in three doubles face-offs.

Though Jeremy Dunham played the only tight singles match—winning 6-4, 6-2—coach Mohamed "Reda" Nait Omar lauded him for outstanding play.

Teammates Salif Kante, Ismail Lemtouni, Christian Bellina, Nathan Singleton and Ramin Zamani all swept to 6-0, 6-0 victories.

Nait Omar noted that the dominant performance by the Jaguars is not the usual outcome between these two teams. “In the past, it has been very close with Oxford,” he said.

In doubles, Kante-Lemtouni coasted to an 8-0 win, while Bellina-Dunham triumphed 8-2 and Brian Le-Zamani 8-1.

A pair of weekend victories gives GPC momentum entering its next encounter Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Morehouse College on the Dunwoody Campus.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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March 19, 2011

Jaguars return to courts with 6-3 victory

The Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team wiped off the cobwebs that formed over a three-week break and defeated Itawamba (Miss.) Community College 6-3 Saturday on the Dunwoody campus.

Salif Kante, Ismail Lemtouni and Christian Bellina took care of business in singles and doubles as GPC improved to 2-2.

Kante, the Jaguars’ No. 1 singles player, was pushed by Ethan Wilkinson but hung on 7-5, 7-5.

Lemtouni, at No. 2, had an easier time with Leonardo Prudencio, winning 6-4, 6-2. They joined forces in doubles to drop the Indians’ Wilkinson-Prudencio 8-3.

Bellina, No. 3 in singles, defeated Wesley Raines 6-4, 6-2, then partnered with Nathan Singleton to whip Wesley Raines and Stephen Montgomery 8-1.

The other GPC point was secured by Ramin Zamani in a thrilling three-set win over Luke Wilson. Zamani survived a tiebreaker 10-8 after splitting the first two sets 6-2, 3-6.

The well-rested Jaguars are back on their home courts Sunday afternoon against Oxford College.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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February 12, 2011

Jaguars enter win column with shutout

Brien Le’s extended tie-breaking thriller secured a shutout for the Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team, which shut out Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College 9-0 for the season’s first victory.

Le took the first set on the Dunwoody courts from Josh Lawton 6-3, then dropped the second 5-7. He trailed in the tiebreaker before regaining his confidence, fighting back to win the extra segment 10-6.

All other singles were decided in straight sets. Salif Kante and Nathan Singleton never lost a game against Matheus Barcela and David Manley, respectively. Ismail Lemtouni disposed of Corey White 6-1, 6-0. Christian Bellina knocked off Troy Lanford 6-4, 6-2, while Ramin Zamani sailed past Stephen Higginbotham 6-3, 6-2.

In doubles, the Jaguars were never pressed: Kante-Lemtouni over Lanford-Lawton 8-1, Bellina-Singleton over Barcela and C.J. Freeman 8-2, and Le-Zamani over White-Higginbotham 8-2.

GPC coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar said the key to doubles success was confidence that was exhibited by first serves being put in play.

The Jaguars, who opened the year with a pair of defeats against four-year schools, will train nearly two weeks in preparation for their next men’s matches, Feb. 25 in Brunswick against College of Coastal Georgia.

Their next home match is Feb. 26 with Gadsden (Ala.) Community College at 9 a.m.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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February 6, 2011

Weekend tennis matches rained out

Saturday’s men’s and women’s tennis matches at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Sunday’s men’s match with Georgia State University were rained out. Dates for rescheduled matches will be posted at the Schedule-Results pages, which can be found on the left menu bar for each team’s web site.

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February 3, 2011

Jaguars fall to top-ranked Emory

An exciting doubles win by Salif Kante and Ismail Lemtouni enabled the Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team to avoid a shutout in an 8-1 defeat Thursday to Emory University, the top-ranked team in the NCAA’s Division III.

Kante and Lemtouni outlasted Chris Goodwin and Will Humphreys 8-6 on a chilly evening at the Emory campus.

Kante was competitive in his singles match, falling to Dillon Pottish 6-3, 6-4, despite coping with a sore knee. Lemtounti lost to Goodwin 6-2, 6-1. It was the Jaguars’ second straight loss to a four-year institution to open the new season.

Head coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar upgraded the Jaguars’ schedule this season partly to help them prepare for junior-college opposition.

“We played this for the experience,” Nait Omar said. “Emory is a very strong team.”

GPC returns to its level (National Junior College Athletic Association) Saturday in Tifton with a match against NJCAA Region 17 power Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Brian Le gave the Eagles’ Eric Rothschild a battle in a 6-3, 6-1 setback. In the other singles matches, GPC was unable to secure a single game. Doubles partners Christian Bellina and Nathan Singleton took a couple of games from Rothschild and Alex Chun before bowing 8-2.

Abraham Baldwin has dominated Region 17 (also known as the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association) for years. The Stallions won the region tournament last year and made the trip to the NJCAA national tournament. GPC finished third in the region. Sunday, the Jaguars are back home to confront another four-year school, Georgia State University, at 5 p.m.

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January 29, 2011

Jaguars open with close match, but not quite enough

The Georgia Perimeter College men’s tennis team’s season opened encouragingly against a four-year college, with two singles wins and two doubles victories.

But although high-ranked sophomore Salif Kante and freshman Ramin Zamani came through for the Jaguars with the singles and doubles wins, the rest of the Georgia Perimeter lineup fell agonizingly short in a 5-4 defeat Saturday to Shorter College on the Dunwoody campus courts.

In doubles, Kante and teammate Ismail Lemtouni downed Shorter’s Badr Cherradi and Bastien Russo 8-3. Zamani and Brian Le outfought Tim Gambrell and Cody Carr 8-5, while Christian Bellina and Nathan Singleton fell 8-2 against Guillaume Ledrap and Grayson Jones.

Kante added to the Jaguars’ lead, recovering from a second-set lapse in No. 1 singles to beat Cherradi 6-3, 6-7, 6-0.

Zamani breezed over Cody Carr 6-1, 6-1, completing his perfect day. “He played very smart,” said GPC coach Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar after watching the freshman’s first competitive day on this level.

But a pivotal match, according to Nait Omar, was No. 2 Lemtouni’s 7-6, 6-2 loss to Russo.

“We’ll need to win those to have a successful season,” the coach said. “Our guys have got to get over the hump playing these big-name four-year schools. They’re as good as their guys. They just need to have the confidence.”

The Jaguars dropped their other three singles matches, none more excruciatingly than Nathan Singleton’s 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 loss to Gambrell. Bellina stumbled to Ledrap and Le to Jones, both by 6-1, 6-4.

The next test against four-year institutions comes Thursday at Emory University in Atlanta, beginning at 6 p.m.

Next Saturday the team travels to Tifton for a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association showdown at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The next home match is Sunday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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January 27, 2011

Kante heads Jaguars’ deep roster

Tennis player Salif Kante landed at Georgia Perimeter College a year ago with great expectations.

He is on the brink of fulfilling them as the Jaguars, with a legacy of team success, will contend for the national junior college singles title with the sophomore from Senegal.

Kante was runner-up in singles and doubles in the autumn ITA/USTA National Small College Championships, which positions him as the NJCAA’s second-ranked player entering the more significant spring portion of the schedule.

His coach, Mohamed “Reda” Nait Omar, is not the least bit surprised.

“I expected him to become a world-class athlete,” Nait Omar said. Last season, the coach noted, provided Kante with needed match-play experience.

Nait Omar is counting on more than results from Kante. “He is the leader of our team, the captain,” the coach said. “We expect him to raise the level for everybody else to follow.”

The roster goes nine deep as Nait Omar endeavored to improve depth, a shortcoming in past seasons, with a hectic offseason of recruiting that rounded up six freshmen.

“Not as much depth as I’d want,” he said, “but we have built that up.”

The coach scored a two-in-one deal when brothers Nathan and Keith Singleton of Dunwoody High signed.

“Nathan is fast. Covers the court well,” said Nait Omar, who is especially counting on him in doubles. “He’s everywhere.”

Another local product is Brian Le of Norcross High, who is no stranger to Nait Omar. The coach provided tennis lessons to Le at age 14.

Completing the cast of home-grown newcomers is William Flores II, out of Harrison High in Fayetteville.

The cream of the freshman class may be Ismail Lemtouni of Morocco, Nait Omar’s land. Lemounti, a strong singles player, was sought by Division 1 universities, but turned his attention late in the process to GPC.

Ramin Zamani, the remaining member of the incoming group, hails from Iran and walked on for a tryout. Zamani is inexperienced, according to the coach, with considerable upside.

More familiar to the team and its followers are sophomores Christian Bellina and Togi Bengi, both honed on the courts of metro Atlanta. Bellina, out of Shiloh High in Snellville, missed part of last spring’s season and all of autumn’s with an ACL injury.

“As long as he stays healthy, he’ll be fine,” said Nait Omar, who regards Bellina as stronger in doubles than singles.

Bengi’s roots are at Brookwood High in Lawrenceville.

GPC rolls out an ambitious 13-match schedule (with room to grow) Saturday morning on the Dunwoody campus against Shorter College. The visitor is a four-year school, one of four added with the intention of getting the Jaguars ready for regional play.

Nait Omar said the four-year institutions began contacting him after GPC’s success in the fall. They are partly motivated, he pointed out, by an interest in recruiting the Jaguars once their eligibility has expired.

“For them to want to play us, that’s a compliment,” the coach said.

The schedule, top-heavy with nine matches on the Dunwoody courts, also includes home-and-home encounters with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the perennial favorite in GPC’s Region 17 involving state schools. The Stallions drop by the Dunwoody courts on April 4.

The Jaguars may not ready to contend for national team honors, as they did regularly a decade or more ago, which included four straight NJCAA crowds from 1998 to 2001. But they are taking aim at ABAC for region supremacy.

“If we can get hot by the end of the regular season, that’s what we want,” Nait Omar said. And they do anticipate their main man, Kante, making a run on that national singles championship trophy.

The Jaguars’ home tennis matches are played at GPC’s Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, Ga., 30338.

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October 19, 2010

Jaguars give good accounting in ITA/USTA finals

Georgia Perimeter College gave notice that it will be a force in the full men’s tennis season next spring with runner-up finishes in singles and doubles last weekend at the ITA/USTA National Small College Championships.

Salif Kante claimed second place in singles as well as doubles, along with Jaguars teammate Akeem Byron, at the event in Mobile, Ala., which closed out the abbreviated fall schedule.

“We are at that [high] level, so we have to buckle down because people are now going to take us more seriously,” coach “Reda” Mohamed Nait Omar said.

Kante, the No. 3 seed, opened in the eight-player division by handling Rafael Coutinho of Laredo (Tex.) Community College 6-3, 6-2, then disposed of Mikhail Pecherkin from Hinds (Miss.) Community College 6-2, 6-2.

He was denied the title by top-seeded Mbonisis Ndimande of Seminole State (Fla.) College 6-2, 6-4.

Kante and Byron, seeded fourth, took their doubles finals to three sets, falling to No. 2 seed Mario Jakovljevic and Pete Thomason from Tyler (Tex.) Junior College 6-3, 6-7, 6-3. Earlier, they downed the duos from Fresno City (Calif.) College 7-6, 6-1 and Hinds 6-1, 6-4.

On the women’s side, GPC’s Sadia Mayou and Mary Claire Slade outlasted second-seeded St. Petersburg (Fla.) Junior College 6-2, 4-6, 10-7 in the first round of doubles, then stumbled to Asa (N.Y.) College in another extended thriller 6-3, 4-6, 12-10.

Salma Dahbi of the Lady Jaguars dropped her initial singles match, 6-1, 7-5 to Sun When of Tyler, the favorite and eventual champion.

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October 11, 2010

Kante and Bellina lead Jaguars to sweep at tournament

Salif Kante and Christian Bellina paced a men’s sweep of both flights for Georgia Perimeter College at a weekend tournament in Alexander City, Ala. Kante claimed the first flight singles title with a 6-1, 6-1 win over GPC teammate Ismail Lemounti.

Kante’s encore was a doubles championship with Akeem Byron, 8-6 over the West Alabama duo of Felipe Lopez and Tom Piekart.

Bellina captured top honors in the second flight by defeating West Alabama’s Lucas Nunes 6-4. He hooked up with Nathan Singleton in doubles, and they handled Nunes and Lucas Cruz 8-4.

Kante had reached the singles finals on three straight-sets wins, with four sets closing 6-0. He and Bryon took their first two doubles matches by identical 8-1 scores.

Bellina was even more cold-blooded than Kante, losing a mere two games in his three encounters prior to the finals. His doubles scores with Singleton prior to their finals were 8-2 and 8-1.

The event was the Central Alabama Community College Invitation, at the same site where the Jaguars took the singles and doubles titles at the USTA/ITA Small College Southern Regional.

That performance landed GPC in the USTA/ITA Small College National Championship in Mobile this weekend, which concludes the Jaguars’ limited fall schedule.

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September 30, 2010

Jaguars are back: tennis teams sweep USTA/ITA regional

Georgia Perimeter College tennis coach “Reda” Mohamed Nait Omar can hardly wait for the spring season. Who can blame him? GPC already is headed to a tournament with “national” in the title.

From left, Coach Reda Nait Omar and singles champion Salif Kante, with runner-up Mikhail Pecherkin and coach Tim Gust of Hinds Community College.

The Jaguars men’s and women’s tennis teams swept all four titles last weekend at the USTA/ITA Small College Regional Championship in Alexander City, Ala. As a result, both teams qualify for the USTA/ITA Small College National Championship Tournament in Mobile, Ala., Oct. 14-17.

The USTA/ITA regional, one of four tournaments GPC is attending during the limited fall season that serves as a warmup for the spring, consisted of nine men’s and 11 women’s teams. Significantly, one participant was Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the dominant program in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA Region 17).

“We made the big noise in junior college tennis,” said Nait Omar, noting that expectations for the team have been raised. “This sends a good message to the teams on our schedule that GPC is back at the level they once were. This is big-time. People are going to pay attention.”

Georgia Perimeter’s men’s tennis team won National Junior College Athletic Association national championships for four consecutive years from 1998 to 2001, and the women’s team also won the title in 2000.

The main contributors for the Jaguars this weekend were a mix of veterans and newcomers.

Sophomore Salif Kante, the returning No. 1 men’s player, took the singles crown 6-2, 6-1 over Mikhail Pecherkin of Hinds Community College (Miss.). Kante and Akeem Byron, a first-year player who attended GPC last year, took the doubles 8-6 from Pecherkin and Nikita Lison.

Freshman Salma Dahbi from Morocco captured the women’s singles honors 6-4, 7-5 over teammate Sadia Mayou of Togo, another first-year player. Mayou teamed with sophomore Mary Slade in doubles, downing Jessica Halterman and Savannah Zachry of Marion Military Institute (Ala.) 8-4.

GPC’s Ismail Lemtouni reached the men’s semifinals before losing, while he and Ali Vaziri Hamedani were ousted in the doubles semis. On the women’s side, Slade, the most valuable player in Region 17 last spring, fell to Dahbi in the semifinals.

The Jaguars next return to Alexander City for the Central Alabama Community College Invitational Oct. 8-10. Then it’s on to the national championship tourney in Mobile to conclude the fall agenda.

The spring schedule begins in February, when Nait Omar and the Jaguars apparently will have one goal in mind—going to another tournament with “national” in the title, the NJCAA National Championship Tournament in Tucson, Ariz.

See the GPC women’s tennis site for more on players mentioned in this article.

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