Duo Collect ITA Regional Awards
May 9, 2016
FORT WORTH, Texas – The No. 4 TCU men’s tennis team was honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on Monday with assistant coach Devin Bowen, along with freshman Alex Rybakov garnering Texas Regional awards.
Bowen was named ITA Texas Region Assistant Coach of the Year, while Rybakov picked up two honors by being named ITA Texas Region Rookie of the Year and ITA Texas Region Player to Watch.
In just two seasons with the TCU men’s tennis program, Bowen has been an integral cog in turning around the program and putting them back on top in the collegiate tennis world. Bowen has helped lead the team back to the top-10 for two straight seasons as they currently sit at No. 4. An alumni of TCU, Bowen has guided his alma mater to back-to-back 20 plus win seasons for the first time since the 2000 and 2001 seasons. After a run to the Final Four for the first time since 2001 last season, Bowen has been there every step of the way in 2016 as the team strung together 17 straight wins, 28 consecutive victories at home and wins over 22 ranked foes.
Under Bowen’s guidance, the team also made back-to-back appearances at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and hosted the ITA Kick-Off Weekend for the first time in program history. The team capped off a remarkable 2016 regular season by scoring the most wins in Big 12 action since joining the league in 2012 and clinching a share of the Big 12 regular season title and claiming the Big 12 tournament title for the first time in program history. Bowen has been mentoring the top players on the team the last two seasons and was there when Cameron Norrie won the inaugural Oracle/ITA Masters and his first professional title in the fall.
Rybakov joined the team in January and has already scored 20 wins in his debut campaign with a perfect 4-0 mark in conference action. The Coral Springs, Fla., native is 18-4 in dual matches and 10-4 against ranked opponents this season. At this point in the season, Rybakov has won eight straight matches and has scored a win in 17 of the team’s victories this season. The freshman earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Singles Championship that will be played May 25-30 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Rybakov entered the Oracle/ITA Singles poll at No. 122 in February and has only gone up from there. After defeating a top-10 opponent, Rybakov made an almost 100 jump in the rankings up to No. 24 and reached as high as No. 15 during the season. In doubles action, Rybakov has paired with fellow top player Cameron Norrie and the duo has been a solid win in doubles action in dual matches for TCU this spring. The duo became a pair in March and strung together nine straight victories and helped the Frogs win the doubles point in eight of those matches. Five of the nine wins were by complete domination as Rybakov and Norrie only allowed their opponents to win one service game in the match.
TCU is the No. 4 seed in the upcoming 2016 NCAA Division I Team Championship and will host the first and second round matches at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Fort Worth from May 13-14. The Frogs will face Jackson State in the opening round on Friday at 1 p.m., while Rice and LSU will also be on hand for a first round match at 10 a.m. The winners of the two matches will face off in the second round on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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