Story contributed by Chris Macaluso, Asst. Director of Athletics Media Relations
ABILENE - A second-place finish as first-year NCAA DI members of the Southland Conference certainly caught the attention of the league's head coaches and sports information directors as they voted five members of Abilene Christian's men's tennis program onto the all-conference first and second teams.
Leading the way with two all-conference honors was Wildcat freshman Nico Agritelley, who made second-team singles with sophomore Marco Bensley and second-team doubles alongside sophomore Jason Proctor. Juniors Borja Cortés and Guilherme Gesser were one of three tandems to make first-team doubles.
A Dallas native and 2013 graduate of Laurel Springs High School, Agritelley went 4-1 in both singles and doubles against the Southland Conference this spring. His only SLC loss was a marathon battle at No. 5 vs. New Orleans' Chris Appelgren, 6-7, 6-4, 11-13, but afterward he slammed Nicholls Sam Meessen in straight sets, and then toppled both Lamar's Mikko Rajamaki and Oral Roberts' Parker Allen in three sets.
Agritelley was promoted from No. 5 to No. 4 singles last week and went 2-0 with an unfinished match against the conference regular season champions from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi preceding victories against 26th-ranked St. Edwards and Oral Roberts.
Earlier this month Agritelley became the first Wildcat men's tennis player to earn a Southland Conference Player of the Week Award (April 7) after beating Rice's No. 5 player Gustavo Gonzalez, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. He also challenged Robert Verzaal of sixth-ranked Baylor before ultimately bowing, 2-6, 6-7 (2). This was Agritelley's last defeat before taking off on his current seven-match winning streak that's pushed his overall record to a team-best 16-7.
Agritelley's doubles winning streak also stands at seven with his last defeat coming against No. 73 Incarnate Word's Tucker Brown and Jair Assuncao on March 9. Since then he has won five straight alongside Proctor, two besides Gesser, and one with Cortés in a runaway 8-2 victory at No. 1 against Schreiner University's Austin Carrola and Stephen Rogers.
Agritelley and Proctor were only paired together once during the non-conference season, but produced a 3-1 record vs. conference foes late in the year and are currently 6-1 overall.
Cortés and Gesser, meanwhile, went 6-4 at No. 1 doubles and were 3-2 against the league at this position, which includes consecutive 8-6 victories over teams from Nicholls and Lamar and an 8-7 (5) decision against UIW's Leonard Ivic and Josip Smoljan.
Bensley played almost exclusively at No. 6 singles this season, but went 5-1 against the Southland Conference and twice clinched the winning point in hard-fought duals against Oral Roberts and Nicholls.
In ACU's win over the Colonels, the Wildcats let a 3-0 lead slip away as consecutive losses at the No. 4, 2 and 1 positions tied the score. However, Bensley eventually saved the day after completing a three-set comeback win over over Kieran Cronin, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Bensley again emerged as the Wildcats' hero vs. Oral Roberts as the South African native held on to beat Cole Guy, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, to improve to 14-8 on the year. And at the time of Bensley's win, both Proctor and Agritelley were in the middle of their third sets.
The Wildcats (14-10, 5-1 Southland) will play their final event of the spring – the National Invitational Tennis Tournament - this weekend in Omaha, Neb. There ACU will face Grand Canyon, New Jersey Institute of Technology and host Nebraska-Omaha.
2014 All-Southland Conference Men’s Tennis Teams and Individual Awards
Player of the Year: Peter Nagy, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Freshman of the Year: Partha Adavelly, Nicholls
Newcomer of the Year: Josip Smoljan, UIW
Coach of the Year: Steve Moore, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
First-Team All-Conference Singles
Peter Nagy, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Nico Mertens, Nicholls
Partha Adavelly, Nicholls
Ricardo Mayagoitia, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Javier Pujol, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Josip Smoljan, UIW
Second-Team All-Conference Singles
Paul Cook, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Nikita Lis, Lamar
Bernard Wezeman, Nicholls
Marco Bensley, Abilene Christian
Juuso Laitinen, Lamar
Nico Agritelley, Abilene Christian
First-Team All-Conference Doubles
Peter Nagy/Guillaume Rauseo, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Partha Adavelly/Bernard Wezeman, Nicholls
Borja Cortés/Guilherme Gesser, Abilene Christian
Second-Team All-Conference Doubles
Ricardo Mayagoitia/Javier Pujol, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Jason Proctor/Nico Agritelley, Abilene Christian
Evan Karatzas/Nico Mertens, Nicholls
No. 1 Singles: Peter Nagy, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-0)
No. 2 Singles: Nico Mertens, Nicholls (5-0)
No. 3 Singles: Josip Smoljan, UIW (6-0)
No. 4 Singles: Bernard Wezeman, Nicholls (5-1)
No. 5 Singles: Jeandre Hoogenboezem, Lamar (3-0)
No. 6 Singles: Paul Cook, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-0)
No. 1 Doubles: Peter Nagy/Guillaume Rauseo, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (4-1)
No. 2 Doubles: Paul Cook/Matt Westmoreland, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-1) and Jason Proctor/Nico Agritelley, Abilene Christian (3-1)
No. 3 Doubles: Ricardo Mayagoitia/Javier Pujol, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (4-1)