Luke Smrek Named BIG EAST Freshman Of The Year

May 12, 2017

Luke Smrek, a member of the Marquette University men’s tennis team, has been named BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Year, the league office announced Friday afternoon.

Smrek was also named All-BIG EAST Conference along with sophomore Alvaro Verdu. The Golden Eagles have now had at least two players recognized in each of the past four seasons.

“Al and Luke worked really hard this year maintaining the top of the lineup and it’s great that they are being honored by the BIG EAST,” head coach Steve Rodecap said. “They both had very good years and were a big part of our success.”

Smrek is the first Marquette player to earn rookie of the year since Dan Lencina claimed the accolade in the Great Midwest Conference in 1994-95. The Wellend, Ontario, Canada, native posted a 17-13 overall record in singles and was 12-8 in dual action. He saw a majority of his action at the No. 2 singles spot and also played No. 3 doubles with Greg Anderson for most of the dual campaign.

“I am really happy for Luke,” Rodecap said. “He represented our program so well throughout the course of the season. Not only was he very good for us from a result perspective, he also competed with class.”

Verdu claimed all-league honors for the second-straight season after posting 12 singles victories on the year. Nine of those wins came in dual competition at the No. 1 spot and he was also a regular part of the program’s No. 1 duo in singles action.

The Golden Eagles posted an overall record of 15-9 in 2016-17 and advanced to the championship match of the league tournament for the third-straight season. MU was defeated by Butler 4-3 in the title contest.




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