OMAHA, Neb. – Denver swept The Summit League Tennis Player of the Year honors as Diogo Rocha earned the men's award and Julia O'Loughlin was named the women's recipient when The Summit League announced its individual tennis awards and all-league teams Thursday evening.
Newcomer of the Year honors went to Oral Roberts' Barnabas Koncz and Denver's Bianca Mok. IUPUI's Brandon Currie (men) and Denver's Christian Thompson (women) earned Coach of the Year accolades.
Rocha recorded a combined 5-0 Summit League record, tying for the league's best mark, at No. 1 and No. 2 singles without dropping a single set. He went 3-0 at No. 2 singles and 2-0 at No. 1 while also combining for a 5-0 doubles mark, including a pair of wins at No. 2 and three at No. 3. Rocha holds a career 15-0 Summit League record, which currently stands atop the league's all-time winning percentage list. He is the third consecutive Denver player to win the award after Henry Craig earned the honor each of the past two seasons.
O'Loughlin posted a 6-0 Summit League singles record, winning 12 of 14 sets played, at the No. 1 position. She tied for the league-high with two Player of the Week selections and combined for a 5-0 record at No. 1 doubles against Summit League opponents. O'Loughlin, 13-0 all-time in league matches during her two seasons, is the first Denver player to win the award.
Koncz went 3-2 at No. 1 singles and added a pair of doubles wins against Summit League opposition. He in the first ORU player to earn an individual accolade since 2009.
Mok compiled identical 6-0 singles and doubles records to lead The Summit League this season. In five matches at the No. 3 singles position, she won 10 of 11 sets. Along with teammate Morgan Barnhill, Mok outscored her doubles opponents 36-5 in league play with five appearances at No. 2 doubles and one match at No. 1.
Currie earned his second consecutive Coach of the Year award after guiding the Jaguars to a 4-1 Summit League record and second-place regular season finish.
Thompson earned her first Coach of the Year award after leading the Pioneers to a perfect 6-0 Summit League record and a 19-2 overall mark with a current No. 44 ITA national ranking.
Men's regular season champion Denver led the way with five all-league selections. Joining Rocha on the team were Henry Craig (league-best 3-0 at No. 1 singles), David Fox (a combined 4-0 at No. 3 and 4), Alex Gasson (3-0 at No. 5) and Yannik James (combined 5-0 at No. 2-4). Oral Roberts had the second-highest all-league total with four honorees including Koncz, Jan Pehnec (4-1 at No. 2), Amar Saletovic (league-best 4-1 at No. 3) and Michael Sosnowski (league-leading 4-0 at No. 5). IUPUI's duo of Jac Newis (3-1 at No. 1) and Akshay Verma (league-best 3-1 at No. 4) along with South Dakota State's Marco Paulo Castro (league-high 4-0 at No. 6) rounded out the men's honorees.
Women's regular season champion Denver paced the all-league team with four selections, led by O'Loughlin and Mok. Maureen Slattery (a league-best 5-0 at No. 2 singles) and Evy Van Genechten (3-0 at No. 4) were the other Pioneer honorees. The two teams tied for second in the league standings, South Dakota and South Dakota State, each placed three players on the team with Ellie Burns (5-1 at No. 1), Yuliya Sidenko (5-1 at No. 2) and Elise van Zjist (2-1 at No. 5) representing the Coyotes and Morgan Brower (4-1 at No. 6), Tacy Haws-Lay (4-1 at No. 4) and Beatriz Souza (league-best 4-1 at No. 5) from the Jackrabbits. Rounding out the all-league team was Omaha's Michelle Lo (3-2 at No. 1) and IUPUI's Brigitte Swartwood (4-1 at No. 6).
The 2016 Summit League Championships are hosted by the University of Nebraska Omaha and will be played April 29-30 at the Koch Family Tennis Center in Omaha.
Men's All-Summit Team
Marco Paulo Castro, South Dakota State
Henry Craig, Denver
David Fox, Denver
Alex Gasson, Denver
Yannik James, Denver
Barnabas Koncz, Oral Roberts
Jac Newis, IUPUI
Jan Pehnec, Oral Roberts
Diogo Rocha, Denver
Amar Saletovic, Oral Roberts
Michael Sosnowski, Oral Roberts
Akshay Verma, IUPUI
Player of the Year: Diogo Rocha, Denver
Newcomer of the Year: Barnabas Koncz, Oral Roberts
Coach of the Year: Brandon Currie, IUPUI
Women's All-Summit Team
Morgan Brower, South Dakota State
Ellie Burns, South Dakota
Tacy Haws-Lay, South Dakota State
Michelle Lo, Omaha
Bianca Mok, Denver
Julia O'Loughlin, Denver
Yuliya Sidenko, South Dakota
Maureen Slattery, Denver
Beatriz Souza, South Dakota State
Brigitte Swartwood, IUPUI
Evy Van Genechten, Denver
Elise van Zjist, South Dakota
Women's Player of the Year: Julia O'Loughlin, Denver
Women's Newcomer of the Year: Bianca Mok, Denver
Women's Coach of the Year: Christian Thompson, Denver
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 75 Academic All-Americans, 65 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. In 2014-15, The Summit League ranked first for NCAA Graduation Success Rate in women's basketball and second in baseball. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.
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