May 5, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Army junior Alex Van Velzer was named the 2014 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year in men's tennis on Monday and heads up the six-member Academic All-League squad, it was announced by the League office.
Voting was conducted by the League's men's tennis sports information directors who could not cast a ballot for their own student-athletes.
The award is the second major recognition in a little more than a week for the Montgomery, Texas native. Van Velzer was named most-valuable player in the Patriot League Men's Tennis Tournament in helping to lead the Black Knights to the title and an NCAA Tournament berth.
In Patriot League play, Van Velzer was 5-0 in singles during the regular season and 3-0 in the postseason. He also went 4-0 in doubles action during the regular season. An International Relations major, Van Velzer has a 3.665 grade point average.
Van Velzer is joined on the Academic All-League squad by teammate Harrison McCormick. The sophomore from Berwyn, Pa. fought through injury to win a pair of doubles matches in the postseason for the Black Knights after posting a 5-0 record in Patriot League singles and a 4-2 mark in doubles. A Systems Engineering major, McCormick has a 3.653 GPA.
The only repeat performer on the Academic All-League squad is Lehigh's Mitchell Petersen. The junior from Grand Rapids, Mich. owns a 40-19 career singles record for the Mountain Hawks and was 3-1 in singles during the regular season. A finance major, Petersen carries a 3.60 GPA.
Bucknell's Nick Bybel enjoyed a standout sophomore campaign for the Bison setting a program record for single-season wins with a 26-9 record. The Lancaster, Pa. native was 6-0 at No. 1 singles during the Patriot League regular season and 4-2 at No. 1 doubles. Bybel is an Economics major with a 3.31 GPA.
Brian Pinkard, a sophomore at Lafayette College, earns Academic All-League honors in his first year of eligibility. The Puyallup, Wash. native was 4-7 in both singles and doubles in Patriot League matches. A Mechanical Engineering major, Pinkard boasts a 3.91 GPA.
The final member of the Academic All-League team is sophomore Connor Pietrak of Loyola University Maryland. The Newtown, Pa. natice was 11-13 overall at No. 1 singles for the Greyhounds and 12-11 at No. 2 doubles. Pietrak is an International Business major with a 3.69 GPA.
To be eligible for the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award and the Academic All-Patriot League Team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average and be a starter or key player in his/her sport. Freshmen or students in their first academic year at their school are not eligible for the honor.
2014 Patriot League Men's Tennis Academic Awards
Scholar-Athlete of the Year - Alex Van Velzer, Army, Jr.
Academic All-Patriot League
Harrison McCormick, Army
Alex Van Velzer, Army
Nick Bybel, Bucknell
Brian Pinkard, Lafayette
Mitchell Petersen, Lehigh
Connor Pietrak, Loyola