CLINTON, S.C. – The Big South Regular Season Champion Presbyterian College men’s tennis team earned six All-Conference honors, three in singles and three in doubles, while Diego Manzanas was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight year, as the Big South announced its year-end awards on Tuesday.
Senior Ben Kelley was named first team All-Big South in singles, while Alexander Lykou and Brandon Mills took home first team honors as a doubles pair. Freshman Jaime Castillo-Lopez and junior Alejandro Bejar each claimed a spot on the second team singles team, while Castillo-Lopez and Manzanas and Kelley and Joel Roberts found their way on to the second team doubles squad.
To round out the honors, Manzanas was named to his third All-Academic Team and was picked as the men’s tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. The six All-Big South honors are the most in the program’s Division I history, coming in the second season of having a first and second team All-Conference team.
Ben Kelley, First Team Singles
Kelley earns his first All-Big South honor for singles, after going 19-3 overall during the regular season to lead PC. The senior completed conference play unbeaten at 7-0, becoming just the second PC player to play in every Big South match and go undefeated. He finished the regular season winning each of his last eight matches and was 11-1 in his last four matches with two going unfinished. The native of Weaverville, N.C. earned three Big South Player of the Week honors this season, tied for second-most of any player in the conference this year and is just the third player PC’s D1 era to receive three such honors in one season. Kelley is the winningest singles player in PC’s Division I era, recording 66 career victories to date.
Lykou and Mills each earned the first All-Conference honors of their respective careers. The pairing went 15-5 together on the season, including a 6-1 record in Big South matches, as a key reason that PC claimed the doubles point in 17 of its 25 matches, including all six conference victories. The two finished the regular season with an 8-2 record over their final 10 matches.
Jaime Castillo-Lopez, Second Team Singles
The freshman got his collegiate career off to an excellent start, earning All-Conference honors in both singles and doubles. Castillo-Lopez compiled a 10-4 singles mark in his first season with the program, including a 5-0 record against Big South foes. The rookie won his last seven matches to end the regular season, coming on late in the year to provide a boost with an 8-1 record since the start of March. The native of Albacete, Spain was named Big South Freshman of the Week on February 15, after going 4-0 in the Alabama State Invitational.
Alejandro Bejar, Second Team Singles
Bejar made a late surge as well to earn his first career All-Conference honor, going unbeaten in the final month of the regular season. The junior went 13-6 in singles action this season, including a 6-0 mark against Big South opponents. Bejar ended the regular season with an eight-match winning streak, all coming in straight sets. The native of Madrid, Spain settled in the lineup at No. 5, where he 7-0 on the year to help PC go on to win the Big South Regular Season title.
Castillo-Lopez and Manzanas teamed up to each earn the first doubles All-Conference honors of their respective careers. The two went 15-7 overall on the year, including a 6-1 mark in conference matches, another key to PC winning the doubles point in 17 of its 25 matches, including all six conference victories. They went 12-6 as the No. 3 doubles pair and capped off the season by going 7-2 in their final 10 matches with one going unfinished. Castillo-Lopez was named Big South Freshman of the Week on February 15, primarily due to going 3-0 in doubles action with Manzanas at the Alabama State Invitational.
PC’s No. 1 doubles pair earned their second All-Big South honor as pair, the last coming in 2014, while Kelley earns his third doubles All-Conference honor after a second team honor with Danny Bruce last season. The two compiled a 13-10 record at the top doubles spot, while winning three conference matches. They found a lot of success early in the season, going 8-3 in their first 11 matches of the season with two of three losses by a score of 7-6. Kelley is the second-winningest doubles player in PC’s D1 era, totaling 60 victories, including 24 with Roberts.
Diego Manzanas, Scholar-Athlete of the Year
No one has embodied the term student-athlete more in his career than Manzanas. The senior took home the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season, after becoming the first PC men’s tennis player to win the award last season. He also made the All-Academic team for the third time in his career, the first PC player to be named to the team three times. The physics major holds just shy of a perfect 4.0 GPA and is set to graduate in May.