May 2, 2016
by Chuck Pool (email@example.com)
Rice men's tennis head coach Efe Ustundag has been named Conference USA Men's Tennis Coach of the Year while Jake Hansen was tabbed C-USA Freshman of the Year and Jamie Malik and Adam Gustafsson earned Double of the Championship honors in voting by conference coaches which was announced on Monday.
At the same time, five of the six members of the Owls singles lineup earned all-conference honors. Gustafsson and Tommy Bennett were named to the first team, while Hansen, Malik and David Warren were named to the second team. Bennett and Warren, who are currently ranked 29th in the nation, earned first team honors in doubles. Gustafsson and Malik were named to the second team.
Ustundag earned the honor after leading the Owls (23-7) to their first C-USA title since 2010 and a No. 26 national ranking. The Owls 23 wins are the most since they finished the 2004 season 24-4 and is the third time since 1977 they have won 20 or more in a season.
Hansen was third on the team with a 13-3 mark in singles, including a 10-3 record at No. 4. He provided six clinch points during the dual season, including the final point in a 4-3 win over No. 9 Texas Tech which was Rice's first win over a top 10 opponent since 2006. Hansen will take a six-match winning streak into the opening round of the NCAA Championship. In doubles, he combined with fellow freshman Emanuel Llamas to go 20-7 in doubles, including a 5-0 mark vs. C-USA schools.
Gustafsson and Malik delivered three standout doubles performances to spark the Owls in each round of the C-USA Championship. They dropped only four games over three matches, including a 6-0 win in the title match against Old Dominion.
The Owls will learn where they will open play in the NCAA Championship on Tuesday when the NCAA announces the field in a webcast that begins at 4:30 p.m.