May 1, 2014
By Kasandra Martinson
FRESNO, Calif. --- In just his second year at the helm of the Fresno State women's tennis program, head coach Ryan Stotland was named Mountain West Coach of the Year by the conference on Thursday as voted on by the league's 11 head coaches.
After starting the season with a 1-7 mark, Stotland turned the Bulldogs' year around and guided them to their best finish since 2011. Stotland led Fresno State (16-8) to 12 straight wins in route to their first Mountain West Women's Tennis Championship in program history with a 4-2 victory over New Mexico on April 27.
Earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the 'Dogs enter postseason play having won 14 of their last 15 matches since Feb. 15.
The Bulldogs recorded an undefeated 7-0 home record at Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center this season and put up a perfect 5-0 record in MW play and garnished several conference accolades along the way.
Under Stotland, sophomores Sophie Watts and Rana Sherif Ahmed were named to the 2014 All-MW Singles Team while Sophie was also named to the and All-MW Doubles Team alongside twin sister and sophomore Anneka Watts. Throughout the season, four different Bulldogs were also awarded MW Player of the Week honors- Anneka, Sophie, Aishwarya Agrawal, and Sofya Malysheva.
Stotland led Fresno State to ITA Top 75 rankings for the majority of the spring, and the Bulldogs are currently the No. 68-ranked team in the country. He also led Sophie Watts to a singles ITA ranking all season with the highest of No. 41 on Feb. 11. Agrawal and freshman Claire Yang also began the year with a national doubles ranking of No. 41.
In his first season as a head coach, Stotland saw the Bulldogs to a 14-8 overall record in 2013 and 6-2 mark in the MW, finishing in a tie for second place in conference with UNLV.
Under his leadership, Ahmed was named 2013 MW Freshman of the Year, along with being named to the All-MW Singles Team and All-MW Doubles Team with senior Melissa McQueen. Fresno State earned three MW Players of the Week honors last season, two by McQueen and one by Ahmed.
Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Stotland was the assistant coach Arizona for four seasons where he coached five nationally-ranked singles players, four nationally-ranked doubles teams, posted a 55-37 overall record and made it to the NCAA Tournament twice.
In his first NCAA appearance as head coach, Stotland and the Bulldogs are set to face No. 17 Michigan (21-4) in the first round of the big tournament at 11 a.m. PT on May 9 in Los Angeles, Calif.
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