After suffering only two losses each during the Big Sky season, a pair of Montana men’s tennis standouts garnered All-Conference singles honors from the league’s coaches on Friday, with UM’s winningest doubles team of the year also collecting an all-conference nod.
Griz sophomore Alexander Canellopoulos was named to the All-Big Sky second team in singles, while junior Ignacio Tejerina earned an honorable mention as well. Both Canellopoulos and Tejerina posted 9-2 league records during Montana’s improbable run to the Big Sky Championship match.
Canellopoulos also picked up a second All-Big Sky award in doubles alongside his partner, junior Yannick Schmidl, who together posted a 7-1 conference record.
“I was really happy for all those guys getting recognized,” said head coach Kris Nord. “It was a competitive year in the Big Sky, and you had to have a really good record to get any attention.”
“I’m just proud of how the guys competed. Not just the recognized kids but the whole team. I’d love to recognize them all.”
Canellopoulos, a native of Athens, Greece, was a clutch performer in the middle of the lineup for the Griz this season, going undefeated in Big Sky play on court five at 4-0, 3-1 on court four and 2-1 on court three.
“Alex did all the things we asked him to do this year. He’s gotten stronger and played higher in the lineup, and he’s going to have to do it again next year for us to be successful. I was really happy with his results, and the good thing is I don’t think he’s entirely happy with how it ended. He knows he can finish stronger,” added Nord.
In doubles, Canellopoulos and Schmidl put together their second-straight one-loss Big Sky season at 7-1 on court two. In the 2016 season, the pair ran through the league with a 9-1 record, giving them only two conference losses over the past two seasons.
“Nacho” Tejerina, a native of Madrid, Spain who transferred to Montana from Union College (Ky.), posted the Big Sky’s best overall record on court six at 11-2 in his first season in maroon and silver, leading to an honorable mention from the conference.
“Nacho was a pleasant surprise this season,” added Nord. “He really had some important wins for us.”
The 2017 All-Conference team is the first under a brand new awards format in the Big Sky, including six first-team singles, six second-team singles, and the introduction of doubles teams with three pairs earning first-team honors and three more taking second-team nods.