Men’s tennis sweeps A-10 awards

Freshman Francisco Dias sends it back to Fordham earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo

Fresh off its second consecutive A-10 title, the men’s tennis team swept A-10 awards, nabbing the Coach of the Year, Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer honors and four all-conference team members.

Freshman Francisco Dias picked up both the Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer awards, the first-ever A-10 student-athlete to earn both honors in a season. Dias posted an 18-5 record at No. 1 singles and an 11-4 record at No. 1 doubles with senior teammate Ugur Atalay. The freshman, who owned a No. 64 ranking from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association this season, is the second Colonial in program history to win the Outstanding Performer award and the fifth to earn Rookie Performer honors.

“I knew Francisco was something special when I recruited him,” men’s tennis head coach Greg Munoz said in a release. “He proved it this year – to me and to his team. He really deserves both of these awards.”

Munoz picked up his second straight A-10 Coach of the Year honor after guiding GW to the championship and a 17-7 overall record. He led the Colonials, who were seeded fifth heading into the A-10 tournament, to victories over the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 seeds en route to a league title.

Munoz also saw his team post a seven-match win steak from March 11-30 and guided it to a victory over nationally-ranked Radford in its regular-season finale.

“The A-10 has gotten a lot stronger over the years, and that’s due to the incredible coaches that are coming in and doing a great job recruiting,” Munoz said. “I am honored to receive the award, but I also feel that there are several other coaches that were deserving.”

Joining Dias on the A-10 All-Conference First Team are Atalay and junior Alexander van Gils, while sophomore Ulrik Thomsen earned second team honors. It’s the fourth straight year Atalay’s been named to the first team, who owned a 21-9 singles record on the season.

Van Gils’ first team award is the first of his career, following second team honors last season, and comes after he posted an 11-5 record at No. 3 singles on the season and a 9-1 record at No. 2 doubles with Thomsen. It’s also the first postseason conference honor for Thomsen, who won nine of his last 10 doubles matches.

“Ugur has always been a passionate player and I knew that when I recruited him. He has he never let me down in his four years here, and I never doubted his ability,” Munoz said. “Alex is probably the best doubles player I have had here at GW. He and Ulrik are a very special combination and the pair have made competing much easier for us.”

The Colonials next head to the NCAA tournament for the second time in two years.

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