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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

UB men's tennis picks up several MAC honors

All WNY News     Tuesday, May 02, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS
news@allwnynews.com



BUFFALO -- Following a perfect 7-0 league slate and a regular season and tournament MAC Championship, University at Buffalo head men's tennis coach Lee Nickell has been named the MAC Coach of the Year, the league announced on Tuesday morning. Four UB players also earned All-MAC honors, the most of any school in the league.

Nickell earned his third MAC Coach of the Year honor after winning the award in 2010 and again in 2015.  He helped lead the Bulls to a 14-5 overall record and a perfect 7-0 record in the MAC, the first team to go 7-0 in league play since Ball State in 1999.  Nickell, as well as associate head coach Matt Lucas, did it with a team that included just two returning players from a year ago and six new players, four of those who earned MAC honors.  Just one Buffalo player was on the squad two seasons ago when the Bulls last played in the NCAA Tournament and that is senior Tony Miller.

Freshman Hao Sheng Koay was named to the All-MAC First Team as he enters the NCAA Tournament with a 20-11 singles record, including a 7-7 mark at first singles.  He also went 6-5 at first doubles during his first season with the Bulls.

Three more players earned second team honors including junior Vidit Vaghela, as well as freshmen Filip Grbic and Villhelm Fridell.  Vaghela, a transfer from Monmouth, is 17-13 in singles, including 8-6 at second singles.  Vaghela claimed one of UB's most important victories as he clinched the regular season title for the Bulls with a victory over Northern Illinois.

Grbic dominated third singles for the Bulls as he went 11-3 at that position.  He also picked up eight victories at first doubles, including six of those with Koay and two more with Fridell, who also made the second team.  Fridell enters the NCAA Tournament with a 21-8 record, including an 11-3 mark at fourth singles.  Fridell went 6-1 during the conference season and won six of his last seven matches.

In addition, to these four picking up all MAC honors, two other Bulls were honored with All-MAC Tournament honors.  Sophomore Ethan Nittolo, one of just two returnees for UB, was named the Most Valuable Player of the MAC Tournament as he clinched both tournament matches at sixth singles, including a big third-set comeback in the finals against Western Michigan.

Junior Petr Vodak was named to the All-Tournament Team as he went a combined 3-0 in singles and doubles during the two matches.  He won both of his doubles matches with Fridell at second doubles and he had an easy straight sets victory at fifth singles in the MAC Championship, 6-0, 6-1.  He also led in his match against NIU when it was stopped.

The Bulls will open up NCAA Tournament action on Friday, May 12.  The Bulls will find out their location later today during the selection show at 5pm.  The men's and women's teams will be holding a joint selection show party at the Miller Tennis Center beginning at 4:30pm.

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