Megan Fudge and Ruben Gonzales were named MVP's at the 15th annual Advantage Illinois Banquet.
April 30, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's and women's tennis teams took some time to honor the past year's accomplishments at the 15th annual Advantage Illinois Tennis Awards Banquet held at the Round Barn Banquet Center Wednesday evening. The players, coaches and support staff associated with the teams all vote on the awards.
On the men's side, the Advantage Illinois Most Valuable Player award went to senior Ruben Gonzales. Gonzales, a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection and three time Big Ten Player of the week, has been pivotal in the success of the Illini this season. The Terre Haute, Ind., native, has continued to climb the ITA rankings, with his highest ranking, No. 42 in the latest poll.
Sophomore Jordan Knue took home the Scholar-Athlete Award (3.95 grade point average in Business); freshman Abe Souza earned the Strength and Conditioning Award and was tabbed the Most Improved Player; sophomore Billy Heiser garnered the Player to Watch honors. Senior Brandon Davis was named the recipient of the Chris Martin Fighting Illini Spirit Award.
The women's MVP award went to sophomore Megan Fudge. Fudge was recently named a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection for the second straight year. The Kaarst, Germany native, was named Big Ten Player of the Week twice this season and has compiled a 22-12 singles record, her second straight 20-win season.
Senior Momei Qu earned the Scholar-Athlete award for her 3.91 GPA in finance and computer engineering. Sophomore Christine Stromberg took home the Strength and Conditioning Award, while freshman Marisa Lambropoulos was designated as the Most Improved Player. Fellow freshman Annie McCarthy was awarded the Brianna Knue Fighting Illini Spirit Award, and redshirt freshman Leigh Finnegan was tabbed the Player to Watch.
Both teams will be competing in the NCAA Tournament next weekend with the Illini women heading to the Georgia Tech Regional to face Tennessee, on May 9 at 3 p.m. ET. The men venture into their 13th straight postseason appearance, hosting Xavier in the first round at the Atkins Tennis Center, with a 12 p.m. CT start on May 9.