May 8, 2013
IRVING, Texas - Baylor men's tennis junior Patrick Pradella was named the Newcomer of the Year, while Julian Lenz garnered Freshman of the Year honors to lead a group of five Bears recognized by the Big 12 Conference on Wednesday.
Pradella, currently ranked No. 24 in the latest ITA listings, is the fifth Bear to be tabbed as the league's Newcomer of the Year and the first since John Peers won the award in 2011. The Bielefeld, Germany product, joins Peers, Dorsch (2003), Jorge Aldrete (1999), and Pawel Gajdzik (1998) as recipients of the award.
Pradella is 20-4 on the year and 12-2 at the No. 1 position for BU. He has won his last five decisions and is 8-3 against ranked foes. In Big 12 action, Pradella was 4-1.
Lenz is the eighth Baylor player to be honored as the league's top freshman. The Bears have now won the award in back-to-back years after Zsiga took home the title last season. From 2000 to 2005, BU owned the award as Zoltan Papp (2000), Reiner Neurohr (2001), Benjamin Becker (2002), Ivor Lovrak (2003), Matija Zgaga (2004) and Lars Poerschke (2005) were voted as Freshman of the Year. This season Lenz shares the honor with OU's Axel Alvarez Llamas.
Lenz has racked up a 26-9 overall mark and a 15-5 record in dual-match play. The Giessen, Germany product went 4-1 in conference play and is currently ranked No. 55.
Zsiga earns his second straight All-Big 12 Singles selection, while compiling a 16-5 dual-match record and a 4-1 mark in Big 12 play. While playing in the top half of the lineup throughout the year, the sophomore is now ranked No. 84.
Zsiga, who hails from Szeged, Hungary, partnered with Galeano (Asuncion, Paraguay) to give the Bears an All-Big 12 doubles team for the fifth straight year and the 16th time out of the last 17 seasons. The pair has amassed a 7-2 record at the No. 1 spot, while going 3-1 vs. ranked foes and 4-1 in Big 12 action. The tandem is currently ranked No. 63.
In his first season at BU, Lupieri earns All-Big 12 singles honors after posting a 16-3 record. With a ranking of No. 109, the native of Zagreb, Croatia, has won his last nine matches and went 3-0 in Big 12 play.
BU has not had four or more players on the All-Big 12 Singles Team since also receiving four selections in 2004 when BU went on to win the NCAA Championship. The 1999 and 2003 teams are the only others to have four singles players garner the accolade. In 2013, the four players recognized ties with Oklahoma for the most in the league.
The All-Big 12 tennis teams and awards are selected by the league's head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. A total of 12 singles players and six tandems are honored.
Baylor has now had at least two singles players make the All-Big 12 team every year since 2002 and has landed multiple players on the list in 15 of the 17 years of the conference's existence.
In head coach Matt Knoll's 17 seasons, Baylor has a total of 64 all-league honors, including 42 in singles and 22 more in doubles.
The 13th-ranked Bears will be back in action Friday as they host the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Championships. Baylor will face Prairie View A&M at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to take on the winner of the Michigan State-Tulsa match. The second round contest is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.
Following the team portion of the NCAA Championship, Pradella and Lenz will both take part in the NCAA Singles Championship.
Follow @BaylorMTennis on Twitter scores, news and inside information on the team all season.
All-Big 12 Singles Team
Julian Lenz, Baylor
Tony Lupieri, Baylor
Patrick Pradella, Baylor
Mate Zsiga, Baylor
Guillermo Alcorta, Oklahoma
Axel Alvarez Llamas, Oklahoma
Costin Paval, Oklahoma
Dane Webb, Oklahoma
Nick Chappell, TCU
Lloyd Glasspool, Texas
Soren Hess-Olesen, Texas
Daniel Whitehead, Texas
All-Big 12 Doubles Team
Diego Galeano/Mate Zsiga, Baylor
Guillermo Alcorta/Axel Alvarez Llamas, Oklahoma
Costin Paval/Dane Webb, Oklahoma
Rifat Biktyakov/Matt Campbell, Oklahoma State
Nick Chappell/Will Stein, TCU
Ben Chen/Daniel Whitehead, Texas
Co-Freshmen of the Year: Axel Alvarez Llamas, Oklahoma; Julian Lenz, Baylor
Newcomer of the Year: Patrick Pradella, Baylor
Player of the Year: Costin Paval, Oklahoma
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Raphael Pfister, Texas Tech
Coach of the Year: John Roddick, Oklahoma