ITA Announces 2014 Division II National Award Winners
SKILLMAN, NJ (May 13) - The ITA has announced its 2014 national award winners for Division II men's and women's tennis. The award winners are listed below, followed by a brief description of each winner's accomplishments.
2014 Men's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Derrick Racine, University of West Florida
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Joan Costa Espin, Hawaii Pacific University
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Bruno Savi, University of West Florida
ITA Rookie Player of the Year: Thibaud Berland, Hawaii Pacific University
ITA Player to Watch: Jaume Martinez Vich, Hawaii Pacific University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Robert Florence, Washburn University
2014 Women's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Avi Kigel, Barry University
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Pierre Tafelski, Hawaii Pacific University
ITA Player to Watch: Carolina Prats-Millan, Armstrong Atlantic State University
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Paola Cigui, Columbus State University
ITA Rookie Player of the Year: Min (Karen) Liu, Brigham Young University - Hawaii
ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Lauren Coggins, Slippery Rock University
Men's award winners:
Derrick Racine, the 2014 Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year, has led his University of West Florida team to a perfect 24-0 record this season and a third consecutive Gulf South Conference championship. His team is ranked No. 1 in the ITA Division II Team Rankings and senior Bruno Savi has been the top-ranked player in the nation all season. Racine's squad also boasts two other Top 15 singles players and a Top 3 doubles team nationally. The Argonauts have notched 13 wins over nationally-ranked opponents including five wins over top-10 opponents. Racine is a three-time Division II Wilson/ITA Men's Tennis National Coach of the Year, a two-time national champion and a 10-time Wilson/ITA South Region Coach of the Year.
Joan Costa Espin, the 2014 ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, has been the assistant coach for the Hawaii Pacific men's team for two years. The team records in his two years with head coach Hendrik Bode are 20-0 in 2013-14 and 21-4 last season. Espin's sportsmanship and good natured approach to the players help him impact his players' performances. He's been involved in every community service event the team has been involved in including USTA/ITA Campus Kids' Days.
Bruno Savi, the 2014 ITA Senior Player of the Year, has been the top singles player in the country throughout the year for the top-ranked University of West Florida team. Savi won the Division II singles title at the 2013 USTA/ITA National Small College Championships and is undefeated with a 22-0 record this spring. He recorded his 150th career victory at the Gulf South Conference Championships, and Savi was an ITA All-American in 2013 and 2012 in both singles and doubles.
Thibaud Berland, the 2014 ITA Rookie Player of the Year, quickly made a mark on his Hawaii Pacific University team. He went 19-1 playing No. 1 doubles, and with teammate Petr Michnev was ranked as the No. 1 team in the country in March. Playing primarily at No. 3 singles, Berland is 14-3 for the season and he beat ATP Top 150 ranked Alex Kuznetsov at the Royal Lahaina Challenger in January and also made the quarterfinals of the doubles event with Michnev.
Jaume Martinez Vich, the 2014 ITA Player to Watch, had a strong year for Hawaii Pacific University at the No. 2 position. He has been ranked as high as No. 14 in singles and contributed significantly to the success of his team with great attitude, tremendous work ethic and on court performances. Vich holds a 14-3 record in singles and a perfect 17-0 record playing No. 22 doubles. The 2013 ITA All-American's biggest win of his young career was against the Division II No. 1 player, Bruno Savi of West Florida last season.
Robert Florence, the 2014 ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship winner, has been a standout on and off the court for Washburn University. He is universally respected by his peers and is quietly determined to succeed in everything he does. He has received various Washburn business scholarships, academic scholarships and was a member of the Presidents honor roll. Florence is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee that organizes and plans events for student athletes, many of which help people in need. He's been involved in the Big Brother Big Sisters Tennis Camp and a volunteer for diaper drive to benefit mothers in need for the Rescue Mission.
Women's award winners:
Avi Kigel, the 2014 Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year, has led his Barry University team to a 20-1 season following on last year's impressive 27-1 record. He is highly regarded for his easygoing nature and is great problem solver on the court. Kigel's teams have qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships in all six years he's been head coach, winning the national title in 2011. The Buccaneers have also been ranked No. 1 in the nation during the past two seasons. Kegil was the ITA National Coach of the Year in 2011 and the ITA South Region Coach of the Year in 2013.
Pierre Tafelski, the 2014 ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, has been a huge asset to the Hawaii Pacific University's women's tennis team. His knowledge of the game and ability to communicate about tennis with the team has been extremely valuable to the program. Tafelski can always be relied on to assist the team with various community service events and he always conducts himself with great sportsmanship. Alongside head coach Lauren Conching, the team has had a 16-6 season.
Carolina Prats-Millan, the 2014 ITA Player to Watch, transferred to Armstrong Atlantic from her native Spain and made a quick impression on the team. This season she is 29-2 in singles and 26-3 in doubles despite missing two fall tournaments. In her first spring season, she's 21-1 playing at No. 3 and No. 4 singles for her team. Her only loss was against teammate and ITA Top 10 singles player Barbora Krtickova last fall, a match in which she held match points.
Paola Cigui, the 2014 ITA Senior Player of the Year had had a stellar career at Columbus State University. She's a two-time ITA All-American in both singles and doubles and is a two-time Peach Belt Player of the year. Cigui won the singles and doubles titles at the 2013 USTA/ITA Division II Southeast Regional Championships and her career singles record is an impressive 55-3 in dual matches.
Min (Karen) Liu,the 2014 ITA Rookie Player of the Year, is undefeated in both singles and doubles at Brigham Young University - Hawaii. During her freshman season, she has been ranked as high as her current No. 2 in singles and she is part of the No. 1 doubles team in the ITA West Region with partner Nannan (Dallas) Zhang. Liu has been a dominating player for the undefeated No. 3 ranked BYU-Hawaii Seasiders, who recently won the Pacific West Tennis Conference Championships.
Lauren Coggins, the 2014 ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award winner, has won over 115 matches for her team at Slippery Rock University. Serving as team captain for the past two seasons, Coggins displays her great sportsmanship by giving her opponent the benefit of the doubt, being respectful and giving her all on the court. She has helped underclassmen understand the importance of sportsmanship through her own actions and mentoring them throughout the season. A therapeutic recreation major, she has shared her love of tennis with local youth who have autism in her work with Summer Camp ROCK and the on-campus TRAILS program.
For a full list of NCAA Division II Regional award winners, click here.
About the ITA Awards program:
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of varsity collegiate tennis players. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men's and women's varsity coaches and 20,000 student-athletes from over 1,200 institutions, has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership, sportsmanship and athletic performance. Awards are given to both men and women, on the Regional and National levels to all Divisions represented within the ITA (NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, and Community and Junior Colleges). The ITA annually recognizes over 3,000 student-athletes on an individual and team basis from over 500 different varsity tennis programs. More than 300 coaches participate in the award selection process, serving on Regional and/or National selection committees. For more information on the ITA Awards program, please visit http://www.itatennis.com/