Illinois Tennis Celebrates Season at Annual Awards Banquet
May 4, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's and women's tennis teams honored this past year's accomplishments at the 17th annual Advantage Illinois Tennis Awards Banquet Tuesday evening at the I-Hotel. Awards were voted on by players, coaches and support staff associated with the teams. Men's head coach Brad Dancer also wished to extend a special thanks to all the alumni that have remained involved and play an integral role in the program. They have made a significant impact on the current athletes through their leadership, mentoring and support.
For the first time ever on the men's side, there was a tie for Advantage Illinois Most Valuable Player, as both senior Marek Czerwinski and junior Abe Souza earned the honor for their efforts this season. Czerwinski garnered his first-career All-Big Ten accolade after going 9-1 in conference play for the Illini. The Birmingham, Mich., native, is currently ranked No. 76 in singles and ranks second on the team with 26 wins overall. Souza has put together a career year for himself thus far, tallying a team-best 34 wins overall, including a 25-3 mark in dual matches, and checked in at No. 81 in this week's rankings.
On the women's side, senior Megan Fudge was named Advantage Illinois Most Valuable Player and became the first Illini women's tennis player ever to win team MVP honors all four years. Just last week, the Kaarst, Germany, native also became just the second Illini to earn four-straight All-Big Ten honors after finishing conference play with an 8-2 mark at No. 1 singles. Additionally, Fudge secured her fourth-straight 20-win season, as she currently leads the team with 23 wins overall, including 11 at the top spot and six over nationally ranked opponents.
Souza and senior Christine Stromberg each took home their team's Scholar-Athlete award for the second-straight year, as Souza boasts a 3.81 grade point average in history, while Stromberg boasts a 3.85 GPA in recreation, sport and tourism. Additionally, Stromberg also tallied her third-straight Strength and Conditioning award.
Czerwinski was named the recipient of the Chris Martin Fighting Illini Spirit award for the second-straight year, in addition to earning his first Strength and Conditioning award, while senior Kristina Minor garnered her third-career Brianna Knue Fighting Illini Spirit award.
The Most Improved Player awards went to freshman Bruno Abdelnour on the men's side and junior Marisa Lambropoulos for the women, while newcomers Stephen Hoh and Breanne Smutko were tabbed Players to Watch.
The Illini will be back in action next weekend to begin play at the 2010 NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships. The men will host Xavier in their first-round match on Friday, May 14 at 3 p.m., while the women will battle Nebraska in Evanston, Ill., on the campus of Northwestern University on Friday at 1 p.m.