BOSTON – Ariel Ilarslan Russo highlighted the Suffolk men's tennis All-GNAC accolades as the freshman was tabbed GNAC Rookie of the Year in addition to a first-team nod, while sophomore Mike DeFelice earned a spot on the second team, the conference announced Wednesday.
Ilarslan Russo made the most of his first year in blue-and-gold. A signature atop the Rams' singles lineup, the Panama native played exclusively as Suffolk's ace and did not disappoint. The two-time GNAC Corvias Rookie of the Week, who also brought home the league's player of the week honors once, went unbeaten in singles action, 8-0, including a 3-0 mark against conference counterparts to become the first Suffolk student-athlete to be tabbed the conference's best rookie since Mark Winkler took home the honor in 2012. Ilarslan Russo became the fourth GNAC Rookie of the Year in Suffolk men's tennis history and also earned first-team recognition with his undefeated record.
DeFelice also made a name for himself in his first season as a Ram. The sophomore from Brandford, Conneticut, played in the upper half of the ladder for Suffolk, putting together a 2-1 league ledger and a 4-6 mark overall en route to second team status.
Ilarslan Russo and DeFelice became the first Rams pair to garner all-conference accolades since the trio of Claixto Romero (first-team singles, second-team doubles), Winkler (first-team singles, second-team doubles) and Alonso Vela (second-team) did so in 2015.
Junior Charles Tang, who hails from Hong Kong, represented the Rams on the conference's all-sportsmanship team, which established to honor one player from each team in the league for outstanding dedication to sportsmanship and for their portrayal of good sportsmanship, fair play and positive attitude.
Since joining the GNAC in 2007, Suffolk men's tennis has picked up 61 All-GNAC honors; three player of the year five rookie of the year, three coach of the year, 22 first-team singles, nine second-team singles, three first-team doubles, six second-team doubles with six all-tournament team selections including a trio of MVP honors.
2018 ALL-GNAC MEN'S TENNIS
FIRST TEAM SINGLES
Alex Rohana, Johnson & Wales
Willen Feygin, Ramapo
Nolan Bebarta, Regis
Chris Harrow, Regis
Luke Horton, Regis
Ariel Ilarslan Russo, Suffolk
FIRST TEAM DOUBLES
Chris Harrow / Luke Horton, Regis
SECOND TEAM SINGLES
Gianna Rodrigues, Johnson & Wales
Ryan Schiele, Johnson & Wales
Sam Beiter, Norwich
Alexi Gilmore, Norwich
Brandon Davis, Rutgers-Newark
Mike DeFelice, Suffolk
SECOND TEAM DOUBLES
Willen Feygin / Adam Patrovics, Ramapo
PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Willen Feygin, Ramapo
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – Ariel Ilarslan Russo, Suffolk
COACH OF THE YEAR – Raza Baig, Ramapo
INSTITUTIONAL SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD – Regis
Zach Hart, Albertus Magnus
Ryan Schiele, Johnson & Wales
Maddy Muthukumaraswany, Norwich
Kevin Ilinets, Ramapo
Evan Russell, Regis
Jake Collette-Nippins, Rutgers-Camden
Charles Tang, Suffolk