June 4, 2007
Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's tennis team announced its team awards at an end-of-year banquet held on Sunday night. Senior Bobby Rasmussen earned the team's Mad Dog of the Year and Bronco of the Year awards to cap a career season. Junior Blane Shields and freshman Jay Wong were given the Most Improved Player and Roy T. Zepponi Bronco Rookie of the Year awards respectively, while Gerald Lu, whose son David graduated in 1991, received the Fan of the Year award. The men's tennis team finished 2007 with a school record 20-8 record and a final ranking of No. 72 in the nation.
"We had a tremendous season and it's very special to celebrate the many program's accomplishments with Bronco fans, friends and family," said head coach George Husack. "The support of our tennis community is invaluable."
Rasmussen finished his career in style in 2007, earning All-WCC Second Team honors in singles and doubles, after being named All-WCC in doubles in 2006. His fine play earned him the Bronco of the Year award, which is given to the Bronco who best exemplifies what it means to play Bronco tennis, including attitude, effort, support of teammates, results and best representation of the program. His tough-mindedness on the court also got him the Mad Dog of the Year award, given to the Bronco that comes through in the clutch when the team needs it most. The Regis Jesuit High School (Colo.) graduate finished the spring season 15-6 for SCU (12-6 in duals). He won nine matches in a row in the middle of the season before suffering a broken hand that forced him to miss seven matches near the end of the season. He clinched five wins for SCU and had an 18-11 overall record. For his career, he posted a 60-50 record, placing him in a tie for sixth all-time in singles wins at Santa Clara.
"Bobby took it upon himself to make a difference this year not only as a student-athlete, but also as a leader and mentor for our younger guys," said Husack. "He has learned and grown a lot since first arriving on campus freshman year. He embraced the Bronco tennis experience and has a bright future ahead of him, as he starts work in forensic accounting for Price Waterhouse Coopers in August."
Wong had a standout first season on the Mission Campus, tying Francisco Zepponi's school record for wins with 30 to capture the Roy T. Zepponi Bronco Rookie of the Year. This award is given to the Bronco that has made a significant impact to the program in his first season on the team. Wong, a San Jose native, posted a 30-11 record on the season, including an 18-8 mark in duals playing No. 2 and No. 3. He was named All-WCC Second Team in doubles and singles, while posting separate winning streaks of nine and six matches during the dual season. He won his first collegiate tournament in the fall, capturing the Flight "B" of the Bronco Classic.
"Jay's accomplishments this season were rather extraordinary," said Husack. "He might be a quiet guy off the court, but his performances spoke volumes. His competitive energy not only contributed to his results but also impacted the team."
After improving from a 10-12 mark in singles in 2005-06 to a 22-5 record this past season, Shields was the recipient of the team's Most Improved Player award for the second straight season. He had one of the best seasons in school history in singles, posting a school-record .815 winning percentage. A native of Novato, Shields was 15-2 in dual matches, including three wins at the WCC Championships. He also clinched a team high six matches for SCU in 2007 en route to being named All-WCC Honorable Mention in singles and All-WCC Second Team in doubles.
"This is Blane's second consecutive Most Improved award," said Husack. "Last year he was honored for his success in doubles, while this year it was his singles play that made huge strides. He's quite an athlete and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does in his senior season."
Gerald Lu was honored with the Fan of the Year award for the second time. He previously took home the honor in 2001. Lu attended the majority of the matches both at home and on the road to provide vocal support for the team, including his "Let's Go Broncos" cheer before every match.