Eight Blue Raiders Earn Conference USA Postseason Awards

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Eight Blue Raiders earn Conference USA Postseason Awards
Photo MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — After winning their fifth consecutive Conference USA title, eight Blue Raiders found themselves on the postseason award lists, announced by the conference office on Wednesday.

“These are awesome awards for all the hard work the players have put in,” said MTSU Head Coach Jimmy Borendame. “This helps put a rubber stamp on all the work we have done together. This award is not just for me, I share this with Associate Head Coach Andrea Caligiana, Coach John Kreis, Coach Tony Rouse, our trainer Kelli Hurt, our Operations Director Carey Haney, our SID Andrew Glover and all the support staff as well as the operations and marketing crews.”

Leo Raquin takes home two of the superlative awards earning the 2024 CUSA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. The Besancon, France native has been the highest ranked Conference USA player all season long. In singles, Raquin has an 18-8 record and has defeated eight ranked opponents this spring. Leo has a 17-5 record in doubles and has earned two wins over ranked opponents. He has been named CUSA Athlete of the Week twice on March 6 and April 17. Leo is currently ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in singles at No. 39 and in doubles at No. 28.

MTSU Head Coach Jimmy Borendame earned his fifth CUSA Coach of the Year honor. He has led the Blue Raiders to a 20-9 record this season and to a fifth consecutive Conference USA title. The team has earned seven Power-5 wins and five ranked victories over the course of the spring. He has helped seven Blue Raiders earn CUSA Athlete of the Week honors just this spring, the most in a season while at MTSU. This season the squad has been ranked as high as No. 27 according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and are currently ranked No. 37.

Jakub Kroslak was tabbed CUSA Freshman of the Year. The first weekend he tallied two singles and a doubles win to start the season off strong and earned Conference USA Athlete of the Week for his performance. The Bratislava, Slovakia native has a 12-3 record in singles and has tallied seven doubles win including two big doubles wins at the CUSA Championships. Kroslak shows up in big moments and has clinched two big matches for MTSU this season. Kroslak clinched a big win over No. 22 Mississippi State. To help the Blue Raiders earn their fifth consecutive CUSA title, Kroslak picked up a 6-3, 6-3 win against No. 53 Liberty’s Thando Longwe-Smit.

Kroslak and Shu Matsuoka went 2-0 in doubles at the Conference USA Championships to earn 2024 Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship. The duo secured the doubles point for the Blue Raiders against New Mexico State in the semis of the CUSA Championship with a 6-1 victory over Luca fe D’Ostiani and Patrick Lohmann. In the championship match, Kroslak and Matsuoka handled business against No. 53 Liberty’s Romeo Hadzimehmedovic and Matija Samardzic 6-1 on court No. 3 to set up court No. 1 to claim the doubles point for MTSU.

Four Blue Raiders were named to the CUSA Singles First Team: Raquin, Marcel Kamrowski, Kroslak and Demis Taramonlis.

Raquin has an 18-8 record and has defeated eight ranked opponents this spring. Raquin is currently ranked No. 39 by the ITA.  He has been named CUSA Athlete of the Week twice on March 6 and April 17.

Kamrowski has been ranked as high as No. 47 by the ITA in singles and has tallied 10 wins this spring. Kamrowski had five wins over Power-5 programs over the course of the spring. Marcel was tabbed Conference USA Athlete of the Week on February 28.

Kroslak has a 12-3 record in singles and earned CUSA Athlete of the Week after the first weekend of the season. The Bratislava, Slovakia native shows up in big moments and has clinched two big matches for MTSU this season against No. 22 Mississippi State and in the CUSA championship match against No. 53 Liberty to secure the fifth consecutive CUSA title for the Blue Raiders.

Taramonlis has earned 10 singles wins this spring. The Veria, Greece native has clinched three matches for the Blue Raiders including the first round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend against California. Taramonlis has recorded five wins over Power-5 teams this spring. Demis went two-for-two in singles against two Power-5 programs in Virginia Tech and Indiana. His performance against VT and IU earned him Conference USA Athlete of the Week on February 14.

Ondrej Horak was named to the CUSA Singles Second Team. Horak has tallied 14 singles wins on the season and has been ranked as high as No. 105 in singles. The sophomore had a perfect weekend against No. 22 Mississippi State and No. 19 Michigan State which led him to be named Conference USA Athlete of the Week on February 7. The Opava, Czech Republic defeated six Power-5 opponents during the course of the season.

All three starting doubles team earned a spot on one of the two All-Conference Doubles Teams. Horak/Raquin and Javier Cueto Ramos/Kamrowski made the First Team, while Kroslak and Matsuoka made the Second Team.

2024 Conference USA Men’s Tennis Superlative Awards  
Player of the Year: Leo Raquin, Middle Tennessee
Freshman of the Year: Jakub Kroslak, Middle Tennessee
Newcomer of the Year: Leo Raquin, Middle Tennessee
Outstanding Singles Player of the Championship: Deji Thomas-Smith, Liberty
Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship: Jakub Kroslak & Shu Matsuoka, Middle Tennessee
Coach of the Year: Jimmy Borendame, Middle Tennessee

All-Conference Singles-First Team:  
Luis Felipe Miguel, Liberty
Ivan Marrero Curbelo, Jax State
Marcel Kamrowski, Middle Tennessee
Jakub Kroslak, Middle Tennessee
Leo Raquin, Middle Tennessee
Demis Taramonlis, Middle Tennessee

All-Conference Singles-Second Team:  
Deji Thomas-Smith, Liberty
Rafael Marques Da Silva, Liberty
Chase Robinson, Liberty
Vanja Dobrnjac, Jax State
Xavier Sarda Marti, Jax State
Ondrej Horak, Middle Tennessee
Tobias Wallin, NM State

All-Conference Doubles-First Team:  
Rafael Marques Da Silva/Thando Longwe-Smit, Liberty
Ondrej Horak/Leo Raquin, Middle Tennessee
Javier Cueto Ramos/Marcel Kamrowski, Middle Tennessee

All-Conference Doubles-Second Team:  
Ivan Marrero Curbelo/Xavier Sarda Marti, Jax State
Marko Milosavljevic/Zach Murphy, Jax State
Jakub Kroslak/Shu Matsuoka, Middle Tennessee

Source: MTSU
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