|MTEN rakes in WAC honors|
DENVER – The Idaho men’s tennis team raked in Western Athletic Conference honors at the league’s annual banquet on the eve of the WAC tournament Thursday night, as six different individuals earned a total of seven league honors.
Head coach Jeff Beaman, along with players Dmitry Perevoshchikov, Abid Akbar, Marius Cirstea, Jose Bendeck and Cristobal Ramos Salazar were all recognized for their performances in 2013.
Beaman earned WAC Coach of the Year honors for the first time after leading Idaho to a league-best 20-6 record and picking up the No. 2 seed in the WAC tournament with a 4-1 conference mark. Idaho’s .769 winning percentage in 2013 is Beaman’s best in his seven seasons, and the team’s best in at least 20 years. Idaho started the season 11-0 and spent eight weeks in the national rankings, peaking at No. 57. Idaho’s 11-match win-streak is also the team’s longest in at least 20 years.
Perevoshchikov and Akbar each earned first-team all-WAC honors in singles, and Akbar and Cirstea teamed up to earn first-team all-WAC honors in doubles.
A major reason Idaho went 20-7 at No. 1 singles in 2013, Perevoshchikov went 19-6 in singles play, including a 16-6 record at No. 1 singles and a 3-0 mark at No. 2. He won his first 15 singles matches of the season and reached as high as No. 122 in the national singles rankings. Perevoshchikov was the only Idaho player to earn two WAC Player of the Week honors during the 2013 season.
Akbar went 15-9 in singles play, all at the top two spots. He went 3-1 at No. 1 singles and 12-8 at No. 2, and went 4-1 in WAC singles play. Four of the nine opponents that beat him in 2013 needed three sets to do it. Akbar was a second-team all-WAC selection in 2012 and earned one WAC Player of the Week honor in 2013.
Akbar and Cirstea teamed up to go 16-3 in doubles play in 2013, including a 15-3 mark at the No. 1 position. The duo went a perfect 4-0 in WAC play together, and won its first nine matches together of 2013.
Cirstea and Jose Bendeck each earned second-team all-WAC honors in singles, while Bendeck and Cristobal Ramos Salazar were a second-team all-WAC doubles pairing.
Cirstea, who is a second-team all-WAC pick for the second consecutive season, went 15-6 in 2013 at the top three singles positions, going 1-0 at No. 1, 2-0 at No. 2 and 12-6 at No. 3. Cirstea went 3-1 in WAC play and earned WAC Player of the Week honors on March 19.
Bendeck went 16-4 in singles play for Idaho, playing at each of the bottom four positions. He went 5-1 at No. 3, 8-1 at No. 4, 2-2 at No. 5 and 1-0 at No. 6. Bendeck won 12 consecutive matches from March 9 to April 19, losing that streak with a tough 7-6,6-4 defeat. Bendeck was 3-2 in WAC matches and earned WAC Player of the Week honors on April 8.
Bendeck and Ramos Salazar were paired up in doubles in 25 of Idaho’s 26 matches, and posted an 18-5 record with two unfinished matches. The duo went 17-3 at No. 2 doubles and 1-2 at No. 1, and posted a 2-3 record in WAC play. The pairing won 11 of its first 12 contests over a six-week span. It is the second consecutive all-WAC honor for the pairing, as the two earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2012.
The Vandals will take on the winner of (3) UTSA and (6) UT Arlington a 9 a.m. (PT) on Saturday in the WAC semifinals.