April 26, 2012

Hoolahan and Lupo named Second-Team All-Conference

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

OGDEN – For the first time in school history, Northern Colorado has had a men's tennis player named to the Big Sky All-Conference teams as senior Brandon Lupo earned Second-Team honors, as did freshman Chrissie Hoolahan on the women's team. True freshman Ben Gendron was also named to the honorable mention squad.

The All-Conference selections and individual awards were voted by the league's head coaches and released by the conference office on Thursday.

"What a great honor to have the Big Sky Conference coaches recognize Brandon Lupo and Ben Gendron for their excellent seasons," said Men's Head Coach Tim Bearman. "They are two of the hardest working guys on the team and they bring that intensity and confidence to our matches. They played great doubles together all season and when they upset the ninth-seeded UNLV team in their first match together at regionals, we all got a glimpse of what they were capable of accomplishing."

Lupo played at the No. 1 singles spot all season, going 8-6 in the spring, including a 4-4 record against Big Sky foes. With his fall record, Lupo posted a record of 15-10 and finished the year on a 6-4 run. He paired with Gendron through the spring to go 11-3 at No. 1 doubles, which included a 5-3 Big Sky record. The pair also ended the year on a seven-match winning streak.

"Brandon is a beast," continued Bearman. The guy is our workhorse, he sets the tone in practice and competes with such intensity that the entire team feeds off his energy. The way he ended the season, beating the No. 1 player from Montana State to clinch the match was indicative of his great play and great leadership that he displayed all season.  I'm just so proud of Brandon. The guy broke his wrist last year and didn't play tennis for six months. To have him come back this fall and work his way back into shape was no small task. Then to have him play every match at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles is a testament to Brandon's will to succeed and mental toughness. I'm glad the other coaches recognized this as well."

Gendron was also named to an honorable mention selection, one of five freshmen selected amongst the 16 honorees. Gendron went 10-4 in the spring with a 5-3 record in the Big Sky Conference. He won his final seven singles matches and nine of his last 10 bouts.

"Ben has all of the tools to be a great player," stated Bearman. "In the middle of the season, that switch flipped in his head and he just starting playing with the confidence needed to win at this level.   The leap from junior tennis to college tennis is a huge one. So to watch him perform at such a consistently high level was special. The guy came in and played No. 1 doubles and No. 3 singles as a true freshman and that is a tough assignment. I know Ben will continue to push this summer as will the rest of the team. I fully expect the men's team to come back ready to build upon this season and continue to grow as teammates. Both in the classroom and on the court, they represented themselves and the University of Northern Colorado extremely well."

 

For the women, Hoolahan went 7-1 in Big Sky Conference play and was 12-4 overall in the spring season, competing all but one match at No. 6. Hoolahan also went 8-1 over her final nine matches and was ahead a set in the Big Sky semifinals before the match was called.

"As a freshman, Chrissie has really proven herself to be an asset to our team," said Women's Head Coach Brenda Vlasak. "I am really proud of how hard she has worked and how successful she has been in her freshman year. She has a lot of talent and will steadily improve and be playing high in our lineup some day."

Hoolahan helped lead the Bears to their first Big Sky Tournament appearance since 2008 and becomes the second women's player to earn either First or Second Team honors since the team joined the league in 2008, as Tabatha Knop was a three-time First Team pick from 2008-10.

For the third-straight season Sacramento State's Tatsiana Kapshai captured the Big Sky Conference women's tennis MVP.  Weber State's Simon Unger captured the men's MVP. Unger is the first Wildcat on the men's side to claim the honor since 1988.

2012 Women's Big Sky All-Conference Tennis Team

First Team 

Player                                                           School                                       Year               Hometown 

#Tatsiana Kapshai (MVP)                     Sacramento State                Sr.                   Minsk, Belarus

#Clarisse Baca                                           Sacramento State                Sr.                   Chihuahua, Mexico    

Heather Davidson                                   Montana                                  Jr.                   Sacramento, Calif.

#Rebeca Delgado                                    Sacramento State                Jr.                   Mazatlan, Mexico

Ghizelene Doballah                                Northern Arizona                 Jr.                   Oran, Algeria

Charlotta Hjalmarssan                           Montana State                      Jr.                   Karlskrona, Sweden

Laurence Pelchat                                     Montana                                  Fr.                   Repentigny, Quebec

Hannah Stone                                           Northern Arizona                 Fr.                   Temecula, Calif.

#Three-Time First Team Selection

Second Team 

Player                                                           School                                       Year               Hometown

Precious Gbadamosi                              Montana                                  Fr.                   Houston, Texas

Moira Hedberg                                         Eastern Washington            Fr.                   Oxnard, Calif.

Chrissie Hoolahan                                  Northern Colorado              Fr.                   Richmond, England

Maria Meliuk                                             Sacramento State                Sr.                   Minsk, Belarus

Laura Porras                                               Idaho State                             Sr.                   Tabio, Colombia

Honorable Mention

Maddy Murray, Montana; Paulina Lopez, Montana State; Johanna Vang, Northern Arizona; Malia Wahinepio, Northern Arizona

2012 Men's Big Sky All-Conference Tennis Team

First Team

Player                                                           School                                       Year               Hometown

@Simon Unger (MVP)                           Weber State                           Jr.                   Moenchengladbach, Germany

Niklas Brandes                                          Montana State                      Fr.                   Nordenham, Germany

Mikolaj Caruk                                            Montana                                  So.                  Warsaw, Poland

Ilija Cuic                                                       Eastern Washington            So.                  Zagreb, Croatia

Mike Facey                                                 Montana                                  Jr.                   Cameron Park, Calif.

Aliaksandr Malko                                     Sacramento State                Jr.                   Minsk, Belarus

Marek Marksoo                                       Sacramento State                Fr.                   Tallinn, Estonia

Ethan Vaughn                                           Montana                                  So.                  Spokane, Wash.

@Four-Time First Team Selection

Second Team

Player                                                           School                                       Year               Hometown

Dominic Bermudez                                 Northern Arizona                 So.                  Tucson, Ariz.

Brandon Lupo                                           Northern Colorado              Sr.                   Broomfield, Colo.

Javier Millan                                               Sacramento State                Sr.                   Hermosillo, Mexico

Krzysztof Stempien                                Idaho State                             Fr.                   Lodz, Poland

Honorable Mention

Mario Navarro, Eastern Washington; Chad Henninger, Eastern Washington; Andreas Luczak, Montana;  Ben Gendron, Northern Colorado