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Johnson and Flames Garner Big South Awards

April 17, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Johnson and Flames Garner Big South Awards

Liberty's No. 2 singles star, Sam Matheson, garners inclusion on the Big South Conference Men's Tennis All-Conference singles squad, as announced by the league office. Teammate Jorge Azuero was named to the Big South All-Academic squad while Liberty Flames Head Coach Chris Johnson was named the 2015 Big South Men's Tennis Coach of the Year.

Matheson joined the team after competing for one year at Middle Tennessee State University. The standout sophomore wasted no time in making his presence felt on the Liberty squad. The New Zealand native led the team in singles play with a 14-7 overall record, including a 7-1 Big South mark. Matheson has won eight of his last 10 matches heading into the Big South Men's Tennis Championship.

The bulk of Matheson's wins, 13 to be exact, came from the No. 2 singles position. The sophomore's success from the No. 2 singles slot solidified Matheson's dominance at the position, garnering the Big South No. 2 Singles Flight Winner.

Azuero becomes just the third Flame to earn a spot on the Big South All-Academic squad three years in a row. Azuero received the recognition in both 2013 and 2014 before being placed on the 2015 squad. On the court, Azuero recorded the third most wins on the team with 12. With Azuero's 12 wins, the Colombia native now ranks fourth all-time in singles wins in Liberty history with 60.

Coach Johnson records his first Big South Men's Tennis Coach of the Year honor after leading the Flames to a 6-2 Big South record. Johnson was named the 2008 Big South Women's Tennis Coach of the Year after leading the Lady Flames to a 13-4 overall record, including a 4-1 mark in Big South action. Liberty turned heads in Big South action this year, as the Flames finished second in the conference standings, despite being picked as the No. 5 team in the preseason rankings. Liberty recorded 13 wins this season, running Johnson's win total to 98 overall wins, one shy of tying former Flames' coach Carl Diemer for the most overall wins in program history.

Radford's Patrick O'Keefe was voted the Big South Conference Men's Tennis Player of the Year while Campbell's Lukas Schaefer was selected as the Big South Freshman of the Year. Peter Nagovnak of Winthrop was named the 2015 Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year.

The first round of the Big South Men's Tennis Championship gets under way tomorrow with a pair of first round/quarterfinal games beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. The No. 2 seed Flames open their tournament play on Sunday at noon when Liberty squares off against host No. 7 seed UNC Asheville.

2015 Big South Conference Men's Tennis All-Conference and Award Winners

Men's Tennis Flight Winners
No. 1 singles – Patrick O'Keefe, Radford
No. 2 singles – Sam Matheson, Liberty
No. 3 singles – Lukas Schaefer, Campbell
No. 4 singles – Korhan Ates, Gardner-Webb
No. 5 singles – Brendan Dempsey, Gardner- Webb
                         Danny Bruce, Presbyterian
No. 6 singles – Ben Kelley, Presbyterian

No. 1 doubles – Kaue Pereira and Philippe Tsangarides, Coastal Carolina
No. 2 doubles – Ben Kelley and Joel Roberts, Presbyterian
No. 3 doubles – Steven Billington and Nicolas Rakitin, Campbell

All-Conference Singles
Patrick O'Keefe, Radford
Steven Billington, Campbell
Philippe Tsangarides, Coastal Carolina
Sam Matheson, Liberty
Tremayne Mitchell, Winthrop
Dylan Comerford, Winthrop
Dan Elston, Longwood
Kaue Pereira, Coastal Carolina

All-Conference Doubles
Philippe Tsangarides and Kaue Pereira, Coastal Carolina
Dylan Comerford and Peter Nagovnak, Winthrop
Ben Kelley and Joel Roberts, Presbyterian
Ernest Alberch and Nikita Zverkov, Gardner-Webb

Adrien Rossignon, Campbell
Renan Samed, Coastal Carolina
Brendan Dempsey, Gardner-Webb
Jorge Azuero, Liberty 
Dan Elston, Longwood
Diego Manzanas, Presbyterian
Javier Waase, Radford
Daniel Kripak, UNC Asheville
Peter Nagovnak, Winthrop

Player of the Year
Patrick O'Keefe, Radford

Freshman of the Year
Lukas Schaefer, Campbell

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Peter Nagovnak, Winthrop

Coach of the Year
Chris Johnson, Liberty