Isaacs Earns Top Honor, Three Cougars Honored at PBC Men’s Tennis Banquet

Florence, S.C. – After leading the Columbus State University men's tennis program to its first ever Peach Belt Conference regular season championship, head coach Evan Isaacs was named the PBC Men's Tennis Coach of the Year on Wednesday night at the annual PBC tennis award banquet. Three Cougar players also earned honors at the event hosted in Florence S.C., the site of the 2014 PBC Championships.

Oussama Zoghlami was named to the All-PBC first team for singles while Marco Almorin earned honors as a singles player on the All-PBC second team. Almorin also earned an award as a doubles player as he and his doubles partner, Adi Malicbegovic, were voted on the All-PBC second team.

In his 13th year at the helm of the Cougars, Isaacs has turned CSU into a perennial national power. Taking over a program that won just five matches in 2002, Isaacs took the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament in just his third year. In 2008, Isaacs and the Cougars began their current streak of six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, a streak that is almost certain to be extended to seven later this year.

Isaacs took Columbus State to back-to-back NCAA Tournament semifinals matches in 2010 and 2011 while guiding the Cougars to a program best 23 wins in 2012.

This year, Isaacs has the Cougars ranked 14th in the nation and handed Armstrong Atlantic State University its first PBC loss since 2009. The Cougars are also the first seed in the PBC Tournament for the first time in school history.

Isaacs becomes just the second CSU tennis coach to be named the PBC Coach of the Year joining Mike "Skeeter" Smith who won the award in 1996. It is also the first time since 2009 that Armstrong's head coach Simon Earnshaw has not earned the honor.

Zoghlami earns his first All-PBC award after an outstanding junior season. Beginning the year as the number two singles player, Zoghlami dominated going 10-1 with his only loss coming in a 7-6, 7-6 decision. The junior was eventually moved up to the top position where he continued to flourish. So far at first singles, he is 6-4 including a victory over 25th-ranked Jaan Kononov of Armstrong. Two of his four losses have come against opponents ranked inside the top-25, including the top-ranked player in the nation, while another defeat came at the hands of Division I Troy.

Currently, Zoghlami is 16-5 and ranked 31st in the nation.

Almorin was named to the All-PBC second team for singles after an 11-10 regular season campaign. The sophomore began the year at the number one spot going 4-6 but has played well at the second position posting a 6-4 mark. He is currently ranked 16th in the Southeast Region.

As a doubles pair, Almorin and Malicbegovic have been in rhythm the entire season. Playing all 20 matches at the top position, the duo is 14-6 including going 8-2 in conference play. The pair is currently ranked 10th in the nation and collected a big win against the fifth-ranked team of Pablo Gor and Kononov in the Armstrong match.

Columbus State will begin the PBC Tournament on Thursday, April 17 taking on eighth-seeded and 35th-ranked North Georgia at 11:00 a.m. The Cougars defeated the Nighthawks 7-2 earlier this season.

The PBC All-Conference team is listed below as selected by the league's head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.

2014 PBC Men's Tennis All-Conference Team

First Team Singles
Yannick Hass, Georgia College
Jaan Kononov, Armstrong
Jose Martinez, Flagler
Pedro Scocuglia, Armstrong
Vincent Verpeaux, Lander
Oussama Zoghlami, Columbus State

Second Team Singles
Marco Almorin, Columbus State
Richard Ashforth, Francis Marion
Mateus Camasmie, North Georgia
Ettore Damiani, USC Aiken
Pablo Gor, Armstrong
Adam Jonsson, Lander

First Team Doubles
Victor Guimaraes & Victor Cabellos, Georgia Regents
Adam Jonsson & Oscar Axelsson, Lander
Jaan Kononov & Pablo Gor, Armstrong

Second Team Doubles
Marco Almorin & Adi Malicbegovic, Columbus State
Yannik Hass & Alex Schubert, Georgia College
Pat Stiebinger & Alejandro Andino, USC Aiken

Player of the Year
Pedro Scocuglia, Armstrong

Freshman of the Year
Richard Ashforth, Francis Marion

Coach of the Year
Evan Isaacs, Columbus State