Although he narrowly missed out on a postseason berth, first-year men’s tennis star Will Zhang tucked another honor under his belt Friday when he was named the UAA Rookie of the Year.
Playing most of the year at the Maroons’ top singles slot, Zhang posted a 14–8 record. His season highlights included a 7–6 (3–0), 3–6, 10–7 win over Northwestern’s Peter Rispoli in the
Maroons’ lone victory during their season-opener against the D-I foes. The rookie also triumphed over third-year Toni Todoric of D-I Chicago State, and when the Maroons lost to then-seventh-ranked Wash U in early March, Zhang needed only two sets to top John Watts, who was at the time the highest-ranked singles player in D-III.
In the Maroons’ fourth-place finish at the UAA tournament, Zhang lost a three set super-tiebreaker in Chicago’s quarterfinal win over NYU but finished the season with a dominant 6–2, 6–3 win against Carnegie’s Andrew Clearfield.
This season, the Pennsylvania native had a 4–1 record at second doubles, where he played primarily with second-year Lado Bakhutashvili.
On Monday, despite failing to garner the top-eight regional ranking that would have qualified him for NCAAs, Zhang was named an alternate to the competition and will play if a contender from the Central Region declines to participate for any reason.