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Kuhar named USTA Rhode Island Player of the Year

Kuhar named USTA Rhode Island Player of the Year

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University men's tennis senior Matt Kuhar (Smithfield, R.I.) has been named the Andy Chase Award winner as Rhode Island's top male collegiate tennis player for the third-straight year.

The award puts the finishing touches on one of the greatest athletic careers in school history. Kuhar has now won the award three-straight years and four times in the last five. He will receive the award, along with the women's winner Julia Pezzuco, during an on-court ceremony at the Tennis Hall of Fame Open on Wednesday, July 17 in Newport.

"These two awards are in line with our mission statement of promoting the growth and development of tennis in the state, including college tennis," said Douglas Chapman, USTA Rhode Island's President, and CEO. "These awards are named after Rhode Island's most successful college players of the past and have become a prestigious honor for the recipients."

Kuhar completed his career as the most successful tennis player in Bryant University history, earning his fourth Andy Chase Award. Kuhar led Coach Ron Gendron's Bulldogs to a 20-11 overall record and sixth consecutive Northeast Conference championship and NCAA Division I tournament berth.

In addition to all of his tennis accolades, Kuhar was selected as the Words Unlimited 2018 Rhode Island Male of the Athlete of the Year, which encompasses all athletes and teams in Rhode Island.

Kuhar completed his illustrious Bulldog career with yet another milestone, representing Bryant and the Northeast Conference at the NCAA Doubles Championships with partner Wilson Dong (Bradenton, Fla.).

Kuhar left his mark on the court and in the classroom. He finished his Bryant career with an 87-31 singles record. Kuhar became the first-ever Bryant tennis player to earn a national ranking, rising as high as No. 77, and, as high as No. 38 in doubles along with Dong, becoming the first doubles tandem to earn a national ranking in NEC history.

Kuhar finished his senior year 24-8 in singles and 18-10 in doubles play, including 4-0 in singles and doubles against NEC foes. He went 17-4 at No. 1 singles. Kuhar reached the quarterfinals of the Oracle ITA Masters with wins over nationally-ranked players Zeke Clark (Illinois) and August Holmgren (San Diego). He also earned a win over nationally-ranked Tommy Mylnikov from Texas Tech

Kuhar was a success at Bryant from the start, earning NEC Rookie of the Year honors in 2015. He then proved his toughness, overcoming a back injury in 2015-16, to claim NEC Player of the Year honors in each of his final three seasons on the court. Kuhar went 18-1 in singles play against NEC foes and will graduate as a seven-time All-NEC honoree.

That stretch included another milestone. In 2017, Kuhar became the first Bulldog to win a set in an NCAA Tournament match when he blanked Oklahoma's Andrew Harris (No. 32 nationally), 6-0, in the first set.

In the classroom, Kuhar was as magnificent as he was on the court. He has earned NEC Men's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in each of the last three seasons and will earn his MBA from Bryant this summer. Kuhar is a Finance major and is the son of Mark and Mary Kuhar of Smithfield.

A 2014 graduate from Smithfield High School, he captured three RIISL state boys' singles championships and led the Sentinels to the state team title in 2013 and 2014. He also captured the first New Balance National High School Tournament singles championship at Harvard in 2014.