Bertrand and Hodges complement each other on and off the court
When sophomore Francis Bertrand and junior Bryan Hodges first met on Francis’ recruiting visit to Grand Valley State University just months before Francis’ freshman year, they realized they shared a connection.
“When we first met a couple of years ago, we really connected with one another,” Bertrand said. “I think we both realized that we shared many of the same interests, on and off of the court.”
Francis went on to attend Stony Brook University where he played one year before transferring to GVSU to play tennis. The dynamic duo has connected once again and remains a threat not only to the GLIAC, but also the Division II Midwest Region.
“Not only myself, but also the entire team was really excited to have a chance to play alongside Francis,” Hodges said. “It has developed just the way we wanted it to, and now we are one of the top doubles team in the GLIAC.”
Bertrand and Hodges connection is not only on the court but off the court as well. The pair is now roommates, which has strengthened their chemistry.
“We have really became the best of friends since he has been at Grand Valley,” Hodges said. “We hangout all the time off the court, which makes our connection on the court even stronger.”
Bertrand and Hodges currently boast a 4-1 record this season while playing in the No. 1 doubles spot for GVSU. They are 3-0 in GLIAC play thus far.
One reason why this doubles squad has developed into one of the premier duos in the GLIAC is due to their opposite, yet complementing, styles of play. A combination of power and finesse is what has been fueling the pair all season.
“When Francis and Bryan first started playing with each other, I knew they fit perfectly alongside one another,” said head coach John Black. “It’s a great combination of Francis’ power and Bryan’s finesse style of play that makes them hard to beat.”
This duo has the ability to bring a type of intimidation that usually isn’t seen too often, as Hodges provides the consistent style of play, and Bertrand awaits to slam the ball back whenever the option presents itself.
“He’s more finesse, and you could say that I am more of a power player,” Bertrand said. “He will place the ball in difficult spots for them to react, and I will be there to smash it home.”
Bertrand and Hodges have become more than just leaders in statistical categories, but leaders among their fellow teammates as well.
“They play so well together that other kids on the team have taken notice and, as a result, have followed their lead,” Black said. “They never get rattled. Their composure is always with them on the court.”
This Lakers leading doubles duo has high aspirations for the GLIAC season and beyond. Black believes they have yet to reach their potential and can grow even more.
“If they continue to work with each other and have the same continued success, then the sky is really the limit for them,” he said.
Bertrand and Hodges, along with the rest of the tennis team, will next be in action March 4 when they begin their spring break trip in Florida with a matchup against Olivet Nazarene University.