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Tennis: Banas Named First Team All-LSWA

Piotrek Banas was named first-team All-Louisiana for the second time in his career.
View larger Courtesy: RaginCajuns.com
Piotrek Banas was named first-team All-Louisiana for the second time in his career.

BATON ROUGE, La.-Louisiana’s Piotrek Banas (Bielsko-Biala, Poland) was named
First Team All-Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association. 

Banas finished the regular season ranked No. 99 in the nation in singles. He
ended the 2008 season with a singles record of 7-3, while going 4-7 in
doubles.  Four of the seven wins Banas earned in singles came at No. 1

The first-team accolade was the second of Banas’ career as he was named first
team All-Louisiana as a freshman, ending the 2007 season with a record of 14-
6 in singles with 12 wins at No. 1.

LSU juniors Megan Falcon and Michael Venus swept the Louisiana men’s and
women’s tennis Player of the Year honors, while LSU’s Jeff Brown was named
the men’s Coach of the Year and Southeastern Louisiana’s Jason Hayes was
named the women’s Coach of the Year; it was announced by the LSWA.

In addition to the Player of the Year honor, Venus was also named the
Newcomer of the Year on the men’s side, while Anastesia Opata of Xavier was
named the women’s Newcomer of the Year. Kathryn Curtis of Southern University
and Bianca Schulz of Northwestern State shared the women’s Freshman of the
Year honor, while Sebastian Carlsson of LSU was the men’s Freshman of the

Joining Banas and Venus on the All-Louisiana men’s first team were Carlsson,
James Cluskey and Kevin Dessauer, Southeastern Louisiana’s Vladimir Paunic
and Grambling State’s Nicolas Rufyikiri. Xavier’s Miroslav Vukicevic and Radu
Ionescu of Nicholls State received honorable mention honors.

Joining Falcon on the All-Louisiana women’s first team are teammate Hannah
Robinson, Southeastern Louisiana’s Emilija Arnaudovska and Bonnie Phillips
and Dominque Bell of Xavier. Mykala Hedberg of LSU, Iva Velkovska of
Southeastern Louisiana, Megan Wiltz of Southern University tied for the final
spot on the first team to give the first team eight members. On the women’s
second team are Southeastern Louisiana’s Jana Simurkova and Nina Knavs,
Xavier’s Anastesia Opata and Northwestern State’s Shulz.

Venus, the men’s Player and Newcomer of the Year, went 14-9 on the season in
singles play while playing in both of the top two spots. The first-team All-
Southeastern Conference selection recorded eight wins over nationally ranked
opponents, including a trio of wins against the top 30. The Orlando, Fla.,
native posted his biggest win of the season in straight sets over third-
ranked Greg Ouellette of Florida. The junior also went 17-6 in doubles action
and advanced to the NCAA Individual Tournament in both doubles and singles.

Falcon, the women’s Player of the Year, was a singles All-American and a
first-team All-SEC selection. She ranked in the top 15 in the Intercollegiate
Tennis Association singles rankings and was ranked in the top 25 in the ITA
doubles rankings. She reached as high as No. 1 in the ITA fall Southwest
Regional rankings. For the season, Falcon was 27-6 in singles play, including
a 12-6 record against ranked opponents and an 8-3 record at the No. 1
position. She also went 12-4 in doubles play, including a 6-5 record against
ranked teams. She posted a pair of wins over top 10 opponents, including a
straight-set win over No. 1 Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas.

Louisiana’s women’s Newcomer of the Year Opata was also named the Gulf Coast
Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and was a member of the All-GCAC
team. Posting a record of 14-4 in singles play and 17-4 in doubles play, the
sophomore from Lawrenceville, Ga., was ranked 17th in the ITA NAIA singles
rankings and No. 9 in doubles. She went 5-0 in both singles and doubles play
against NCAA Division I opponents. She paired with teammate Dominique Bell to
win 14 of her last 15 doubles matches.

Carlsson, the men’s Freshman of the Year, was 27-7 in singles play, including
22 straight-set wins. He ended the season with seven-straight wins and tied
for the team lead in SEC wins with eight. In addition, she was 19-8 in
doubles play, the third most doubles wins on the team for the Tiger. A four-
time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, his biggest win of the season was a
three-set win over Erik Corace of eighth-ranked Florida to clinch LSU’s 4-3

Schulz, the women’s co-Freshman of the Year, earned second-team All-Southland
Conference honors at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles. She was 19-4 in singles
play and 10-1 at the No. 4 spot against conference opponents. In addition,
she was 10-3 at No. 2 doubles, including a 7-3 record in conference play.

Curtis, who tied with Schulz for Freshman of the Year honors, was named the
Southwestern Conference Freshman of the Year. She went 11-8 in singles play
and 9-6 in doubles play. She was undefeated in SWAC action and was also named
a first-team All-SWAC selection in singles and, along with her partner, in
doubles play.

Brown led his LSU squad to the NCAA Second Round with a 15-9 record and a No.
18 national ranking. It marked the 11th time Brown has led the Tigers to the
NCAA Tournament, every season as head coach. It was also the ninth time he
has guided LSU to the second round. In addition, the Tigers were outstanding
academically, scoring a perfect 1000 on the NCAA APR record for the second-
straight year.

For the second-straight year, Hays took home Louisiana Coach of the Year
honors. At the helm of the Lady Lions, he was 22-3 and earned Southland
Conference Coach of the Year honors for the third-straight year. He became
the first coach in Southeastern Louisiana history to win three-straight
conference Coach of the Year honors. The Lady Lions have won 48 consecutive
matches against conference opponents and has not seen his women’s team lose
to a Louisiana school since 2005.

All-Louisiana Men’s Tennis Team
Piotrek Banas, Louisiana
Sebastian Carlsson, LSU
Kevin Dessauer, LSU
Vladimir Paunic, Southeastern Louisiana
Nicolas Rufyikiri, Grambling State
Michael Venus, LSU

Honorable Mention: Radu Ionescu, Nicholls State; Miroslav Vukicevic, Xavier

Player of the Year: Michael Venus, LSU
Newcomer of the Year: Michael Venus, LSU
Freshman of the Year: Sebastian Carlsson, LSU
Coach of the Year: Jeff Brown, LSU

All-Louisiana Women’s First Team
Emilija Arnaudovska, Southeastern Louisiana
Dominique Bell, Xavier
Megan Falcon, LSU
Bonnie Phillips, Southeastern Louisiana
Hannah Robinson, LSU
Iva Velkovska, Southeastern Louisiana*
Megan Wiltz, Southern University*
Mykala Hedberg, LSU*

* – Tied for final spot on First Team

All-Louisiana Women’s Second Team
Nina Knavs, Southeastern Louisiana
Anastesia Opata, Xavier
Bianca Schulz, Northwestern State
Jana Simurkova, Southeastern Louisiana
Player of the Year: Megan Falcon, LSU
Freshman of the Year: Kathryn Curtis, Southern University & Bianca Schulz,
Northwestern State
Newcomer of the Year: Anastesia Opata, Xavier
Coach of the Year: Jason Hayes, Southeastern Louisiana


Chris Whitehead
UL-Lafayette Sports Information
201 Reinhardt Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 851-2255