GW Men's Tennis Lands Five on A-10 Postseason Teams
Freshman Danil Zelenkov Named Conference Most Outstanding Rookie Performer
May 6, 2013
WASHINGTON - Five George Washington men's tennis players have earned spots on Atlantic 10 postseason teams and freshman Danil Zelenkov was tabbed the Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, as voted on by the league's 14 head coaches.
Sophomore Francisco Dias and junior Nikita Fomin join Zelenkov on the All-Conference First Team, while senior Alexander van Gils was named to the Second Team and junior Ulrik Thomsen earned a spot on the All-Academic Team. The quintet helped GW to a 17-7 overall record while making its fourth straight trip to the A-10 Championship title match.
"I am very proud of the standard we have set for the future of this program," seventh-year head coach Greg Munoz said. "Our results came from dedication and hard work on and off of the court. We look forward to growing upon the successful season."
Competing primarily at the No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles positions, Zelenkov helped No. 73 GW earn its first-ever national ranking under Munoz and reaching as high as the No. 45 squad in the country. The rookie posted an overall singles record of 20-8 and went 17-4 this spring, highlighted by a perfect 4-0 mark against conference competition. Zelenkov capped his first campaign in Buff and Blue on a 10-match winning streak and earned victories in 15 of his last 17 bouts. The rookie standout and Fomin teamed up for an overall No. 2 doubles record of 21-7 and a 14-5 dual-match record, as the pair wrapped the season on an eight-match winning streak.
Zelenkov is the second consecutive Colonial, and sixth overall, to be named Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, joining Dias (2012) and alums Ugur Atalay (2009), Yan Levinski (2008), Mustafa Gencsoy (2005) and Matt Hane (2001). The Skopje, Macedonia native won a league-record seven A-10 Rookie of the Week distinctions as he guided GW to 17 dual-match victories for the second straight season.
The reigning conference Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, Dias was tabbed to the All-Conference First Team for the second time in as many years as a No. 2 singles and No. 3 doubles player. He earned national rankings in both singles and doubles as he helped the Colonials earn a top-75 ranking. Prior to the spring season Dias debuted as the No. 76 player in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and was also slated the No. 10 singles player in the Atlantic Region. Dias and No. 3 doubles partner senior Leonardo Lapentti earned a No. 80 ranking midway through the season after opening the spring with a 9-0 mark, and the duo wrapped the season with an unblemished record of 17-0. In singles, Dias went 19-14 over the year and 11-11 in spring action. He picked up A-10 Performer of the Week honors on April 16.
Joining Dias and Zelenkov on the All-Conference First Team is Fomin, who earned a No. 94 national ranking after an impressive run at the conference championship in April. The junior transfer opened his first year as a Colonial as the 96th-ranked player in NCAA Division I and the No. 11 player in the Atlantic Region, and produced a team-best overall singles record of 24-8 and a dual-match record of 17-6 this spring. As the squad's top player, Fomin won nine of his last 10 matches, with his lone blemish coming against VCU's No. 29 Max Wennakoski. He avenged his loss to Wennakoski, however, in the A-10 championship tilt as he won a three-set thriller to extend the match to doubles play, where the Colonials nearly upset the nationally ranked Rams. The postseason award marks the second for the Moscow, Russia product as he was named America East Rookie of the Year in 2011 and earned a spot on the league's All-Conference First Team as a member of Stony Brook's squad.
A Second-Team awardee, van Gils picks up his third straight conference accolade as he was named to the All-Conference First Team in 2012 and the Second Team in 2011. In No. 1 doubles play, he and Thomsen went 10-10 overall and 9-9 through dual matches. He also upset two nationally ranked opponents this season in No. 55 Spencer Newman and Alex Petrone of Michigan with Dias, and No. 30 Alexis Heugas and Dylan McCloskey of conference foe VCU with Thomsen. Van Gils wraps his three-year career with a career singles record of 51-39 and a doubles mark of 60-33.
The All-Academic nod is the first for Thomsen, an international affairs major who owns a 3.91 cumulative grade-point average. Recently Thomsen was honored with the university's Outstanding Academic Achievement Award - given to those who are in the top two percent, by GPA, of sophomores, juniors and seniors who have distinguished themselves inside and outside the classroom - for the second straight year. A Copenhagen, Denmark native, Thomsen has appeared on the Athletics and Recreation Academic Dean's List as well as the A-10 Commissioner's Honor Roll in each of his five semesters at GW, highlighted by two 4.0 GPA semesters. On the court, Thomsen posted an overall singles record of 17-7 and a spring mark of 12-5 while competing at the Nos. 5 and 6 singles spots.