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Koepfer Earns November Amateur Athlete of the Month Honors
Monday, December 7, 2015
Dominick Koepfer, a star tennis player for Tulane University, has been selected as the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month for November. The monthly award-winners are chosen in voting by the Greater New Orleans Sports Award Selection Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
New Orleans Amateur Athletes of the Month
After reaching the semifinals of the Oracle Master's Tournament and the final of the ITA All-American Championships this fall, Koepfer finally achieved that final step, winning the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on November 15. The No. 10 preseason ranked Koepfer defeated No. 22 Andre Goransson of California, 6-1, 7-5. The Green Wave senior becomes the first player in program history to win a National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship and the first to win a national tournament singles championship since 1955, when Jose Aguero won the NCAA Singles title. "In the last final I was in at Tulsa (for All-Americans), I had a lot of negative self-talking and this time I just kept it together, played my game and remained focused on every point," Koepfer stated.
Koepfer could do no wrong in the opening set, rolling out to a 5-0 lead before taking the first set, 6-1. In the second set, Koepfer and Goransson battled back-and-forth, each holding serve all the way to a 5-5 tie. Then, Koepfer earned one of the biggest breaks of his career, going up 6-5, before securing the 7-5 clincher on serve.
Koepfer's dominant path to a national championship went through some of the top players in the country, as the senior knocked off No. 29 Chris Diaz of Ohio State, Skander Mansouri of Wake Forest, No. 12 Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, No. 70 Joao Monteiro of Virginia Tech and now No. 22 Andre Goransson. In addition, he beat all five tournament opponents in straight sets.
Koepfer had significant competition for the November honor as high school standouts in football, volleyball and cross country were also nominated. Aldon Clark led the Edna Karr High School football team a perfect month of November with 12 touchdowns as his team will play in the state semifinals. McGehee High volleyball star Naya Gross capped off an exceptional month by tallying 22 kills and being named MVP of the Division V state championship match. On the cross country front, Gabrielle Jennings from First Baptist Christian won an unprecedented eighth straight state title at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Cross Country Championships in Natchitoches on November 16. Another volleyball star, Kristen Nuss from Mount Carmel, was also named a state championship MVP as she posted a 15-kill, 15-dig performance as the Cubs captured the Division 1 state title.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee has been selecting an Amateur Athlete of the Month each month since 1958. The athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region in order to be eligible. Each of the monthly award winners will be honored in the summer at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.