May 14, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two members of the South Carolina men’s tennis program earned regional honors from the ITA, the organization announced today, as freshman Andrew Adams was named the Carolina Region Rookie of the Year and assistant coach Matt Lucas earned the region’s Assistant Coach of the Year award. Adams becomes the third region rookie of the year and Lucas the second region assistant coach of the year in the South Carolina program’s history.
“Up against some of the very best in the country in their categories, Andrew and Matt are very deserving of these regional awards,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “We know that Andrew will continue to get better and be a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of his college career. It’s nice to see other coaches recognize that as well. Coach Lucas has done a great job here, and I’m happy that our peers in the Carolina Region recognize his commitment and contribution to the reemergence of this program.”
Adams turned in one of the best freshman seasons in program history. His 28 singles victories are the fourth-most all-time by a South Carolina freshman. His 20-6 dual-match singles record includes an 11-2 mark in the No. 2 spot in the order and a 9-3 record at No. 3. One of just seven SEC freshmen to regularly play in the top three singles spots, Adams’ six wins in league play were among the highest count of the group. In the team’s 15 wins this season, Adams provided the clinching point five times and won seven second sets by 6-0 scores.
Lucas played a significant support role in the resurgence of the South Carolina program under Goffi. By the end of their first season in Columbia, the duo had signed the No. 3 class in the nation, giving the program its first recruiting class ranking. South Carolina earned a spot in this season’s NCAA Tournament after that group of first-year Gamecocks doubled the team’s overall and SEC win totals from the previous season. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 22 in the nation in the Feb. 28 rankings, the highest mark for the program since March 31, 2009.
The Gamecocks closed their season with a 15-12 overall record following a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to future SEC rival Texas A&M. It was the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009.
2012 ITA Carolina Region Awards
Coach of the Year: Ramsey Smith, Duke
Assistant Coach of the Year: Matt Lucas, South Carolina
Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Jose Hernandez, North Carolina
Senior of the Year: Torsten Wietoska, Duke
Player to Watch: Rafael Aita, UNC Wilmington
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Adams, South Carolina
Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award: Jose Hernandez, North Carolina