CSU Tennis Teams Garner Impressive Regional/National Honors
SKILLMAN, NJ – While the season may be over, the Columbus State University men's tennis team still made headlines as Oussama Zoghlami and Adi Malicbegovic were named Southeast Region Senior Player of the Year and Most Improved Senior Player of the Year, respectively. The awards were announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The ITA presented seven awards to representatives from the eight regions and one regional winner earned the seven national awards.
Playing as the Cougars' exclusive top singles player, Oussama Zoghlami went 13-7 during his final season in Columbus. The Quebec, Canada product won eight matches in a row from February 11 through March 10, including three against opponents from programs ranked in the top 10. Zoghlami also went 17-5 in doubles play, teaming up with Martynas Zakaitis to beat a nationally-ranked foe from No. 10 Valdosta State on April 9.
One of CSU's most consistent all-around players, Adi Malicbegovic drew national rankings in both singles (19th) and doubles (19th) play. The Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina import teamed up with Marco Almorin to go 13-9 as the Cougars' only top doubles pair, winning four matches against nationally-ranked foes. Malicbegovic also went 17-3 singles matches, all as the number two, tying for the team lead in wins.
Columbus State finished the season 17-5, earning a No. 15 ranking in the latest national poll and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
As the program prepares for the next round of the NCAA Tournament, the Columbus State University women's tennis team earned regional and national recognition from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Beatriz Leon was named the ITA National and Southeast Region Player to Watch, while head coach Evan Isaacs earned Southeast Region Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year honors, announced by the organization. The ITA presented seven awards to representatives from the eight regions and one regional winner earned the seven national awards.
Following up an outstanding freshman season with an even better encore, sophomore Beatriz Leon beat out the other seven regional winners to become the top up-and-comer in Division II women's tennis. The Zaragoza, Spain native earned national rankings as both a singles (12th) and doubles (14th) player, going a combined 32-5 across all matches. Leon posted a 15-2 record in singles play as the Lady Cougars' exclusive number one, going 10-1 against Peach Belt foes and clinching CSU's wins in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. With Giorgia Vitale and later Saravinder Pannu, Leon is 15-3 in doubles competition.
Now in his 14th season at the helm, Evan Isaacs has led the Lady Cougars to the national tournament every year. The Columbus State graduate has posted a 277-79 record as a head coach, including a 127-25 mark in conference play. Isaacs guided CSU to its fifth consecutive PBC Tournament finals and is in the NCAA Round of 16 for the seventh time (fourth consecutive). A trip to the quarterfinal round would be Isaacs's second consecutive and fourth in a row, matching the farthest he has led the Lady Cougars through nationals.
No. 8 Columbus State will face No. 41 Northwood (Mich.) today in the NCAA Round of 16 in Surprise, Ariz. A win would send the Lady Cougars to the quarterfinals for a matchup against either No. 2 Barry (Fla.) or No. 10 New York Institute of Technology.