NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The George Washington men’s tennis team swept the Atlantic 10 Conference year-end awards, as freshman Francisco Dias was named both the league’s Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, according to a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches. Sixth-year Colonials’ head coach Greg Munoz was also honored, as he was tabbed Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Dias becomes the first-ever A-10 student-athlete to earn the distinction of both of the conference’s top honors, and did so after boasting an 18-5 overall record at No. 1 singles and an 11-4 record at No. 1 doubles. The lone Colonial to be nationally ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Dias owned a No. 64 ranking during the season and went 2-1 against his nationally ranked counterparts. The Lisbon, Portugal, native heads his first-ever NCAA Tournament having won nine of his last 10 matches.
“I knew Francisco was something special when I recruited him,” Munoz said. “He proved it this year – to me and to his team. He really deserves both of these awards.”
The rookie standout is just the second-ever GW player to be named the league’s Most Outstanding Performer, asMatt Hane earned the award following the 2002 and 2004 seasons. Dias is also the fifth Colonial to be named Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, joining senior Ugur Atalay (2009) and alums Yan Levinski (2008), Mustafa Gencsoy(2005) and Hane (2001).
Munoz earned his second straight Coach of the Year accolade after guiding GW to a 17-7 overall record and its second consecutive A-10 title. Under Munoz’s direction, the Colonials defeated the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 seeds en route to the league championship. Munoz also saw the Buff and Blue post a seven-match winning streak that spanned from March 11-30, in addition to taking down nationally-ranked Radford in the squad’s 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,” said Munoz. “I am honored to receive the award, but I also feel that there are several other coaches that were deserving.”
Joining Dias on the All-Conference First Team are Atalay and junior Alexander van Gils, while sophomore Ulrik Thomsen was named to the Second Team. The award marks the fourth straight year that Atalay was named to the league’s first team, after posting an undefeated singles record through the three-day championship and clinching both the semifinal and final matches for the Colonials. He owns an overall singles record of 21-9 and went 11-4 with Dias at No. 1 doubles.
The first-team honor marks the first for van Gils, as he was named to the conference’s second team following the 2010-11 season. The Tutzing,Germany, native posted an 11-5 record at No. 3 singles on the season and a 9-1 record at No. 2 doubles with Thomsen. Thomsen earned his first post-season conference honor this year, having 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 head to the NCAA tournament for the second time in as many years after securing the automatic bid. GW will learn its fate on Tuesday, May 1 at 5 p.m. when the NCAA hosts the tournament selection show.
Most Outstanding Performer of the Year: Francisco Dias, Fr., George Washington
Most Outstanding Rookie Performer of the Year: Francisco Dias, Fr., George Washington
Coach of the Year: Greg Munoz, George Washington
- GW -