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Azuero Named Big South Men's Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year

April 17, 2013
|  Rock Hill, S.C.
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Jorge Azuero

Liberty sophomore Jorge Azuero has been named the Big South Men's Tennis Scholar Athlete of the year, as announced this evening in Rock Hill, S.C. at the conference's annual year-end banquet. Additionally, junior Shea Thomas earned all-conference singles honors, as well as all-conference doubles recognition with partner Egon Samaai

Azuero becomes the second Flame ever to earn Scholar Athlete of the Year honors, joining Louis Steyn who was tabbed the award winner in 2010. In addition to being named Scholar Athlete of the Year, the Cali, Colombia native was named to the Big South all-academic team for the first time in his career. Azuero holds a 4.0 GPA as a finance major. 

Thomas earns the first Big South all-conference singles nod of his career, joining Ricardo Shinozaki (2001), Braen Aneiros (2004) and Siim Tuus (2010-11-12) as the only Liberty student-athletes to be recognized on the all-conference singles' squad. The Petaluma, Calif. native posted a 15-6 overall singles record during the dual-match season, marking the first time a Flame has won 15 singles matches since Juan Reyes registerd a 15-7 record in 2009.  In conference clashes, Thomas tallied a 5-3 mark. Dating back to the fall tournament schedule, Thomas has won a total of 26 singles tilts, setting a new Liberty single-season record for singles victories.

Thomas and Samaai's all-conference doubles award marks the second consecutive season a Liberty duo has been named to the team. Last season, Giancarlo Lemmi and Tuus were tabbed to the squad. Thomas and Samaai played 20 of their 21 doubles contests in the No. 1 position, posting an overall record of 14-7 (6-2 Big South). Thanks to their 6-2 conference record, the Flames' tandem was declared a flight winner in the No. 1 spot along with Winthrop's Dylan Comerford and Peter Nagovnak. This marks just the second time ever a Liberty duo has been declared a doubles flight winner. In 2010, Steyn and Reyes collected the honor while playing in the No. 3 position.  

The Big South Player of the Year honor was awarded to Campbell's Fernando Guillen, while Ivar Aramburu of Winthrop was tabbed the Freshman of the Year. Coastal Carolina's Chris Powers was voted the Coach of the Year after leading the Chanticleers to a perfect 8-0 Big South record and the conference's regular-season title.

While the Big South Men's Tennis Championship opened today, Liberty does not play until tomorrow afternoon. The No. 7 seeded Flames will square off against No. 2 seed Campbell, beginning no later than 12:30 p.m. at the Winthrop Memorial Courts.

2013 Big South Conference Men's Tennis Award Winners

All-Academic Team
Adrien Rossignon, Campbell
Yusuke Kusuda, Coastal Carolina
Ernest Alberch, Gardner-Webb
Jorge Azuero, Liberty
Edward Becker, Longwood
Gonzalo Asis, Presbyterian College
Randall Carter, Radford
John Schubel, UNC Asheville
Dylan Comerford, Winthrop

Men's Tennis Flight Winners
No. 1 singles – Stijn Meulemans, Radford
No. 2 singles – Ivar Aramburu, Winthrop
No. 3 singles – Garik Yedigarian, Coastal Carolina
No. 4 singles – Matias Di Pasquale, Coastal Carolina
No. 5 singles – Josep Baro, Campbell
No. 6 singles – Gonzalo Asis, Presbyterian College

No. 1 Doubles – Egon Samaai/Shea Thomas, Liberty
                            Dylan Comerford/Peter Nagovnak, Winthrop
No. 2 Doubles – Rafael Berghaus/Grayson Mills, Presbyterian College
                             Leo Christofides/John Karle, Coastal Carolina

No. 3 Doubles – Yusuke Kusuda/Ted Nilsson, Coastal Carolina

All-Conference Singles
Fernando Guillen, Campbell
Adam Knutsson-Sundblad, Gardner-Webb
Stijn Meulemans, Radford
Garik Yedigarian, Coastal Carolina
Adrien Langeard, UNC Asheville
Shea Thomas, Liberty
Yusuke Kusuda, Coastal Carolina
Grayson Mills, Presbyterian College

All-Conference Doubles
Fernando Guillen/Adrien Rossignin, Campbell
Shea Thomas/Egon Samaai, Liberty
Dylan Comerford/Peter Nagovnak, Winthrop
Andrew Brigham/William O'Connell

Player of the Year
Fernando Guillen, Campbell

Freshman of the Year
Ivar Aramburu, Winthrop

Scholar Athlete of the Year
Jorge Azuero, Liberty

Coach of the Year
Chris Powers, Coastal Carolina