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Kuhar repeats as USTA's Rhode Island Player of the Year

Larry Levanti Photo
Larry Levanti Photo

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University men's tennis redshirt junior Matt Kuhar (Smithfield) has been named the Andy Chase/Goride Ernst Award winner as Rhode Island's top male collegiate tennis player.

The 2018 Northeast Conference Player of the Year, Kuhar has now won the award in each of the last two seasons and three times in the last four years. Kuhar and Union's Natalia Pezzucco, the Jill Craybas top collegiate female winner, will receive their honors during a center court ceremony at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open on Wednesday, July 18 in Newport.

"What a nice way to put a capstone on a fantastic senior year," head coach Ron Gendron said. "We are thankful for the committee and so proud of what Matt's been able to accomplish. This summer has been outstanding as Matt's fitness and strength, along with his match play, seem to be at an all-time high. We are very hopeful to compete at a high level in September."

Kuhar put together one of the greatest seasons in men's tennis history this past spring on his way to becoming the first tennis player in school history to earn a national ranking. Bryant's Male Athlete of the Year and the ITA Northeast Most Improved Senior award winner, Kuhar went 26-8 in singles and 22-13 in doubles play on the year. He was impressive 20-4 at No. 1 singles and faced five nationally-ranked opponents on the year. Kuhar's highlight win came against Cal's Billy Griffith, the No. 54 ranked player in the nation.

About the Awards

The awards are presented by USTA Rhode Island to the male and the female college players of the year who are from the Ocean State, but not necessarily playing at a Rhode Island school.

ANDY CHASE – A native of Cumberland, Chase was the US National 16 & Under Hardcourt Singles Champion and a two-time national junior doubles champion. He won two RIILS state singles championships and team championship for Cumberland. He went on to play at Stanford University, where he was a teammate of John McEnroe. The Cardinal won three NCAA Division I team championships during his four years in Palo Alto.

GORDIE ERNST – A native of Cranston, Ernst won four RIISL state singles championship and four doubles championships (three at Cranston East and one at Hendricken), including three with his brother, Bobby Ernst. He was 97-0 in his high school singles career. Ernst was a two-sport athlete at Brown University, was a NHL draft choice and briefly played on the pro tennis tour. Ernst is the head men's and women's tennis coach at Georgetown University, having previously coached at Penn and Northwestern. Among his current pupils are President Obama's daughters. 

2018 – Matt Kuhar (Smithfield), Bryant University
2017 – Matt Kuhar (Smithfield), Bryant University)
2016 – Eric Laboissonniere (Cumberland), Roger Williams University
2015 – Matt Kuhar (Smithfield), Bryant University