MSU Tennis' Ilyushin, Stropp Earn ITA Regional Honors
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Following a stellar season by Mississippi State's ninth-ranked men's tennis squad, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced Monday senior Artem Ilyushin and sophomore Malte Stropp were selected as the Southern Region Senior Player of the Year and Southern Region Player to Watch, respectively.
"These guys had incredible years," head coach Per Nilsson said. "I am extremely proud of the work they put in to get where they are now. These two guys definitely deserve the honor they have received and we will for sure miss Artem (Ilyushin) next year."
Ilyushin, a 2012 All-American and All-SEC First-Team selection, has posted incredible results during his senior season at Mississippi State with 11 wins coming against ranked opponents, seven in the top 40 and one in the top 10. With these results, Ilyushin climbed the rankings to being ranked as high as 10th nationally at one point this season (currently 13th) and earned a 9-16 seeding at the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championship beginning May 23 in Athens, Ga. He was twice named SEC Player of the Week this spring.
Along with his impressive showing in the top spot of singles, Ilyushin was paired with fellow senior George Coupland in doubles where they have earned a season high No. 25 national ranking while competing at the No. 1 and 2 positions. The duo was also selected to the NCAA Doubles Championship in Athens next week.
Stropp, the SEC's 2011 Freshman of the Year and ITA Rookie of the Year, moved up in the lineup this season as a sophomore after posting an incredible 9-1 conference record on court 4 last spring. Playing mostly at the No. 4 spot, Stropp posted an impressive 14 wins this spring with a solid 7-4 conference slate while earning four wins against ranked opponents. Climbing as high as No. 46 in the ITA polls this year (currently 74th), Stropp earned a career high spring ranking of 67th this season.
In doubles, Stropp was paired with senior teammate Louis Cant as the duo earned as high as a No. 7 national ranking this season. Competing in the top two spots, the 47th-ranked Bulldog tandem earned 11 dual match victories this spring with six solid wins in conference action. Last fall, the duo earned the crown at the Southern Intercollegiates in Athens, Ga., while also earning an at-large bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoors in Flushing, N.Y.
Both Ilyushin and Stropp will automatically be nominated for the national versions of their awards which will be released by the ITA on Tuesday, May 22.