OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton men's tennis player Billy Paluch earned a fifth year of eligibility for the 2013-14 season on Tuesday after the NCAA approved a medical redshirt request for the senior after he sat out almost all of last spring due to injury.
Prior to the start of last season, Paluch became the first Bluejay to be ranked nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) at No. 91. The Rapid City, S.D., native is the first CU tennis player to earn a national ranking during Creighton men's tennis head coach Tom Lilly's 16-year tenure and is believed to be the first Bluejay to accomplish the feat since the early 1990's.
"We are very happy to get Billy back for another year as he enters graduate school," said Lilly. "His injury early last year was a big blow to our team, so his return will be a huge boost for us moving into next year.
“For us, it is similar to getting Doug McDermott back as the basketball team did. Paluch is one of the best athletes to ever play for Bluejay men’s tennis. He will now be able to finish his career in style.”
Paluch, who begins graduate courses towards a Master’s degree in finance this fall, already ranks atop Creighton’s power rating list in doubles action. He also rates No. 8 all-time in singles wins, stands at No. 3 for career doubles victories and is No. 6 for overall combined wins in program history.
“I have a totally new perspective as I enter my fifth year of collegiate tennis,” said Paluch. “I learned a lot from my injury and I am blessed to have such great support around me. I am excited to get back with my teammates and compete for a BIG EAST title.”
Without Paluch last season, the Jays finished sixth in their final season in the Missouri Valley Conference to go along with an overall record of 7-11. In addition to Paluch, Creighton returns a young team with four players that played 13 or more dual singles matches last season as underclassmen.
The Bluejays joined the BIG EAST Conference on July 1.