May 7, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin
NCAA.com

There have been countless hours of research and articles written on the connection between twins, and for Lebanon Valley College’s Sarah and Matt Grodzinski there is a special one on the tennis court.

Sarah began playing the sport as a freshman at Northern Lebanon H.S. in Annville, Pa., just for fun, and after recognizing his sister’s immediate passion for it, Matt soon followed by joining the boys’ squad the next year.

“We really got into it and hit at least four or five times a week together,” said Sarah.  “We still hit together now, but not as much since we have so many different people to hit with.  We really helped each other learning at the same time by playing together and developing our skills.  We got better at the same time.”

The Grodzinskis both played No. 1 singles for their high school, flourishing as each other’s practice partners and winning the county singles championship in their senior year.

“It’s kind of neat to have a family member dedicated to the same sport you are,” said Matt.  “We made each other better because we could play with each other every day.  We always had that availability with each other, which I guess was an advantage over others.”

Matt says the twins’ forehand is almost identical after sharing the same coach in high school, but it’s more than just technique that bonds the siblings.

“One palpable similarity in our playing styles is our fervor to win, and our desire to compete,” said Matt.  “Not only do we enjoy competing, but we love and respect the game as well.”

The twins moved on to LVC where they are now juniors and both compete at No. 1 singles for their respective squads, which are fresh off winning Commonwealth Conference championships and earning the programs’ first-ever trips to the NCAA Division III Championships.

“It’s amazing that we both won,” said Sarah.  “The women’s team was pretty confident going into it (league championships), but the guys kind of upset different teams to win.  It’s cool that we both won in the same year.”

Sarah was named CC Player of the Year after setting a school season record for wins with a 21-2 record, and a flawless 5-0 mark in league play, while Matt garnered an All-CC second-team nod.

“This is a great memory to share,” said Matt.  “It’s kind of neat because when I reflect on it, we’ve had a lot of great memories.  I know we’re twins and people ask us all the time if we have that ‘twin thing’.  In some respects we do.  It’s neat that we’re both getting to experience an NCAA Championship like we have other tournament successes in the past.”

The siblings are always supportive of one another, and ask and offer playing advice whenever possible.

“She’ll give me little tips here and there, and tell me things she picks up on,” said Matt.  “Positive things, negative things, sometimes neutral things, and I do the same for her.  Regardless of if Sarah wins or loses, she always asks what she should have done differently.”

Unfortunately, they will be playing at different venues this weekend for NCAA Championships as the men’s team will travel to Kenyon to face Mount Union, while the women’s squad is off to TCNJ to tangle with Carnegie Mellon.  Both teams begin tournament action on May 8.