South Carolina State Sweeps All-MEAC Top Honors; Cruz and Hurduc Selected as Players of the Year

Friday, April 20, 2007

RALEIGH, N.C. – South Carolina State swept top post-season Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tennis honors and placed seven players on the postseason teams, the league announced Thursday (Apr. 19) evening at its pre-championship banquet at the Holiday Inn Crabtree. The 2007 championships are being conducted Friday through Sunday (Apr. 20-22) at the Millbrook Tennis Complex in Raleigh.

SC State’s Ionut Hurduc and Mirian Cruz, both juniors, were named the 2007 men and women’s Players of the Year, respectively, as voted by the league’s head tennis coaches and sports information directors.

The Bulldogs’ Radek Pivonka was named men’s Rookie of the Year, while Lady Bulldog Iveta Blodneice earned women’s Rookie of the Year accolades. And, Hardeep Judge, who coaches both teams, was named men’s Coach of the Year, leaving only the women’s Coach of the Year honor not claimed by SC State.

Hurduc, of Romania, compiled an 8-0 mark in conference play and was 11-5 at the number one singles position. At one point in the season, he recorded 10 wins during an 11-match streak.

Cruz, who earned the women’s honor for the second straight year, was 9-1 in the MEAC and 17-6 overall at the number one singles position. The El Salvador native, was fourth in the league with a 20-2 doubles mark, helping SC State, two-times defending champs, to a 10-0 MEAC record for the third straight year and to a number 75 ranking in the latest FILA collegiate tennis poll.

Judge men’s Coach of the Year honor was his second in three years. Under his guidance, the Bulldogs posted a perfect 10-0 mark in MEAC play and were 14-7 overall. Judge, who is in his sixth year, earned Coach of the Year accolades for his women’s team in 2005 and 2006. He was also named the 2005 MEAC men’s Coach of the Year.

A total sweep of the league’s postseason awards by SC State was prevented only by Florida A&M second-year head coach, Rochelle Goldthreate, who garnered Coach of the Year honors on the women’s side. Goldthreate directed her team to a 7-3 MEAC record, 8-9 overall.

SC State’s Pivonka, a Czech Republic native, was 7-0 in the league and 14-1 overall in garnering rookie honors, while Blodneice tallied a 16-5 overall record and 9-0 mark in MEAC play in earning the accolade for women..

Hurduc was joined on the 2007 men’s All-MEAC first-team by teammate Dragan Bisercic and Hampton’s Seo-Jae Chang, who earned the honor for the third consecutive year. Florida A&M’s Clifford Malivert and Artiom Podgainii and Bethune-Cookman’s Thabani Sithole completed the first-team selections. Pivonka and Ivan Milivojevic represented the Bulldogs on the second team

Cruz was joined on the women’s first team by teammate Marcela Rodezno, the 2005 Player of the Year, with both earning the distinction for the third straight year. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Kiara Powell of Bethune-Cookman, along with teammates Lucia Polakova and Monika Musilova and Coppin State’s Andreea Apostu also earned first-team accolades. Blodneice earned second-team honors for the Lady Bulldogs.