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2017 ITA Awards Scroll(1)-2017-05-15

TEMPE, Ariz. –
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the 2017 NAIA national and regional award winners on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

NATIONAL WINNERS
​MEN


Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Alan Green, Xavier University of Louisiana
This is the second consecutive year Green has garnered the national Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year Award. In 2017, despite having to replace two All-Americans from last season, Green guided his team to a No. 2 national ranking. The Gold Rush scored three victories over Division I opponents, and also defeated nationally-ranked teams from Divisions II and III. XULA repeated as men’s team champion at the HBCU National Championships in September of 2016. In addition to the on-court accolades, Green’s team works with the local A’s and Aces program to teach tennis to underprivileged kids.
 
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Alex Hager, University of Northwestern Ohio
Hager has been an integral part of what was the best season in program history. He always makes himself available to the players for extra practice sessions, and he’s loved by all the players. In January, Hager helped the University of Northwestern Ohio tennis program partner with a local tennis organization. The venture raised over $3,000 to sponsor tennis clinics for inner-city children in the area. Hager also organized the second annual UNOH kids’ day in August 2016, where over 100 kids in the community came out to play tennis with UNOH players for several hours.

ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Yonas Woldetsadik, Lewis-Clark State College
In each of his three years at LCSC, Woldetsadik has been involved in a variety of on- and off-campus community service projects. This year, the highlights include his coordination of a blood drive in the Fall semesters and taking the co-lead role in TEAM IMPACT, which unites sick kids with college teams. Woldetsadik immediately formed a bond with Eli, who was drafted to be an honorary member of the tennis programs. In addition, Woldetsadik has spent the last few summers working at a boys’ camp in Maine, providing him an opportunity to enhance his leadership skills.

ITA Rookie of the Year: Antoine Richard, Xavier University of Louisiana
Possesses a No. 4 national ranking in singles, and No. 6 national ranking in doubles, with the singles ranking being the highest-ever by a XULA freshman. Richard is 9-5 in singles and 10-3 in doubles and was named NAIA National Player of the Week for April 10-16.

ITA Player to Watch: Gilad Berman, Georgia Gwinnett College
Berman has a combined singles and doubles record of 28-5 for his junior season. He’s played at the No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles positions for the top-ranked Grizzlies. A personal highlight in 2017 for Berman was his clinching the winning point against Division II National Champion West Florida. He was down 5-1 in the third set, but rallied to win his match and propel Georgia Gwinnett to a 5-4 victory.

ITA Most Improved Senior: Jeff Hsiang Yu Su (Jeff Su), Lewis-Clark State College
Su went from a No. 6 singles player as a freshman to a No. 1 singles player in 2017. At one point during his senior campaign, held a No. 7 national singles ranking, and is currently ranked No. 16 in doubles.

ITA Senior Player of the Year: Jordan Cox, Georgia Gwinnett College
Cox has a combined singles and doubles record this Spring of 29-2. He is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in singles, and has been ranked No. 1 in doubles for most of his senior season. During the Fall season, Cox advanced to the final of the NAIA singles at the 2016 ITA Oracle Cup, where he lost to teammate Kevin Konfederak. Cox and Konfederak teamed up at the ITA Oracle Cup and successfully defended their NAIA and Oracle Cup doubles titles, earning a trip to the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. The Georgia Gwinnett duo scored a victory over Stanford during their time in New York City. Cox has a 3.75 GPA and graduates with a business degree. He recently ran the Publix Marathon in Atlanta to help raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes, which Cox has.

ITA Community Service Award: Lewis-Clark State College
This year, LCSC registered with TEAM IMPACT (an NCAA initiative). Team Impact unites sick kids with college athletes. In December, the program identified with Eli, a local seven-year-old with Fanconi Anemia; a rare, inherited blood disorder that leads to bone marrow failure. LSCS conducted a DRAFT DAY to welcome Eli to be an honorary team member. Eli has shown the program what strength and determination is. Other non-tennis activities this year include the Bowl Painting for the YWCA, unloading pumpkins for the United First Methodist Church, and being the clean-up crew for the Arts Under the Elms Festival on campus. Upon reflection of the numerous activities at the end of the year, the players realize that their time spent was minimal compared to the impact they had on the recipients.

WOMEN

Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Chase Hodges, Georgia Gwinnett College
Hodges has guided the Grizzlies to a No. 1 national ranking, and are looking to defend their NAIA national title. In 2017, Georgia Gwinnett has scored key wins over Division III Emory (ranked No. 1 at the time) and Division II West Florida (No. 7), in addition to seven wins over ranked NAIA opponents. The women’s team possesses a 3.34 GPA and in the community, Hodges has implemented the largest service event with the Special Olympics of Gwinnett County. The event featured 197 kids learning the game of tennis from Coach Hodges, his staff and players.

ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Jim Bodor, San Diego Christian College
Bodor played a key role in San Diego Christian College going undefeated in conference play in 2017. He is supportive and aware of his players, and exhibits genuine engagement in their matches.

ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Jessica Emoto, Tabor College
Emoto has helped run six local high school tennis tournaments, organized the Social Justice Week and Anti-Human Trafficking 5K Run, has run booths at the Oasis Special Education School Fall and Spring festivals, has volunteered to help with Main Street Ministries Food Bank, visited patients at Parkside Homes for Senior Living, Helped with several Red Cross Blood Drives, read to elementary students in Hillsboro and Marion, and helped pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. She is a two-time NAIA Academic All-American, a three-time KCAC Scholar Athlete. She has been on the Tabor College Dean's List as a freshman, sophomore, and junior. She won the Richard J. Wall Endowed Biology Scholarship and has completed an independent research project on Kombucha B Vitamin Content with High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. In addition, she is a biology/chemistry tutor and Biology Laboratory Assistant and Molecular Genetics Researcher. She was also received the 2016 ITA NAIA Women's Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship award. Playing at No. 1 Singles, she’s 23-3 is currently ranked No. 1 in The Central Region and No. 13 in the Nation. She has been an All-American for the past two years. Jessica has been a unanimous KCAC First-Team player and has been the KCAC Women's Tennis MVP for the past two years. She was 1-2 in the 2016 ITA Oracle Cup, losing her first two matches and then winning her third. Emoto has only lost to the NAIA No. 2, NAIA No. 12, and the JUCO No. 9. Emoto has lost only two sets this spring, both of them in her loss to No. 9 Neus Torregrosa from Barton College. She led her team to a third-place finish in the KCAC.

ITA Rookie of the Year: Amanda Schneider, University of Northwestern Ohio
Schneider has a record this year of 17-6 in singles, with all but one match being played at No. 1 singles, and a record of 16-5 in doubles, again with all but one match being played at No. 1 doubles. She is currently ranked No. 12 in the national singles rankings and No. 9 in the national doubles rankings. In the fall, she won the ITA regional tournament in both singles and doubles, and at the ITA Oracle Cup, finished fifth in singles and seventh in doubles. She was just named WHAC conference player of the year, newcomer of the year and first-team all-conference in both singles and doubles.

ITA Player to Watch: Brittany Augustine, San Diego Christian College
Augustine went undefeated in conference play in both singles and doubles. She has an overall record of 14-1 in singles and 13-2 in doubles, earning her national rankings of No. 4 in singles and No. 6 in doubles. She was named the GSAC Conference Player of the Month for March.

ITA Most Improved Senior: Klara Dohnalova, Georgia Gwinnett College
Dohnalova has steadily moved up the lineup throughout her career and currently plays at No. 2 singles, and flips between No. 1 and 2 doubles. She’s ranked No. 2 nationally in doubles and No. 7 in singles. She has a combined record of 28-3.

ITA Senior Player of the Year: Valeria Podda, Georgia Gwinnett College
Podda is the most-decorated player in GGC women’s tennis history. She’s played the No. 1 singles position the past four years, and this year has posted a 34-0 combined singles and doubles record in 2017. She’s played a key role in the program’s current 29-match win streak, 21-0 record and No. 1 national ranking. Podda is ranked No. 2 in singles and doubles. She was a singles and doubles finalist at the 2016 ITA Oracle Cup. Equally impressive in the classroom, Podda owns a 3.87 GPA and will graduate in December with a business degree with an international concentration.

ITA Community Service Award: Southwestern College
The women's team served over 100 hours this season. They packaged food bags for local children for the Winfield School District Backpacks for Kids program, served meals to needy families at the First United Methodist Church and read to elementary school students each week during the spring.

REGIONAL WINNERS
MEN

CENTRAL

Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Justin Stuckey, William Woods University
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Travis Bronson, Hastings College
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Braden Baker, Southwestern College
ITA Rookie of the Year: Oscar Barreiro, William Woods University
ITA Player to Watch: Christian Barbieri, William Woods University
ITA Most Improved Senior: David Barbieri, William Woods University
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Joan Marc Fajula, McPherson College
ITA Community Service Award: Southwestern College

WEST
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Mark Basham, Westmont College
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Kurt Bishop, Arizona Christian University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Yonas Woldetsadik, Lewis-Clark State College
ITA Rookie of the Year: Philipp Sibbel, Westmont College
ITA Player to Watch: Aliaksandr Meliuk, San Diego Christian College
ITA Most Improved Senior: Jeff Hsiang Yu Su, Lewis-Clark State College
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Leonardo Urquidi, San Diego Christian College
ITA Community Service Award: Lewis-Clark State College

EAST
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Kyle Caven, Campbellsville University
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Alex Hager, University of Northwestern Ohio
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Oscar Cornella, Olivet Nazarene University
ITA Rookie of the Year: Joshua Turnquest, Asbury University
ITA Player to Watch: Tomas Depiaggio, Lindsey Wilson
ITA Most Improved Senior: Jean-Marc Krone, University of Northwestern Ohio
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Brendan Aguilar, Campbellsville University
ITA Community Service Award: Olivet Nazarene

SOUTH
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Alan Green, Xavier University of Louisiana
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Kevin Chaouat, Xavier University of Louisiana
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Kevin Konfederak, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Rookie of the Year: Antonie Richard, Xavier University of Louisiana
ITA Player to Watch: Gilad Berman, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Most Improved Senior: Connor Clements, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Jordan Cox, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Community Service Award: Georgia Gwinnett College

WOMEN

CENTRAL
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Jason Speegle, Southwestern College
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Hernan Hatem, Southwestern College
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Jessica Emoto, Tabor College
ITA Rookie of the Year: Zlata Shuraeva, William Woods University
ITA Player to Watch: Karyna Sagalai, William Woods University
ITA Most Improved Senior: Sydney Shields, Southwestern College
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Lilian Blasque, Missouri Valley College
ITA Community Service Award: Southwestern College

WEST
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Priscilla Jensen, San Diego Christian College
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Jim Bodor, San Diego Christian College
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Stephanie Buckingham, Lewis-Clark State College
ITA Rookie of the Year: Cade Pierson, Westmont College
ITA Player to Watch: Brittany Augustine, San Diego Christian College
ITA Most Improved Senior: Lauren Lang, Lewis-Clark State College
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Heather Borsos, San Diego Christian College
ITA Community Service Award: San Diego Christian College

EAST
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Phil Carlisle, University of Northwestern Ohio
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Marcy Huck, Olivet Nazarene University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Rachel Bottorff, Indiana Wesleyan University
ITA Rookie of the Year: Amanda Schneider, University of Northwestern Ohio
ITA Player to Watch: Maria Prados Cid, Lindsey Wilson
ITA Most Improved Senior: Faith Huckabee, Olivet Nazarene University
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Vladica Djurdevic, University of Northwestern Ohio
ITA Community Service Award: Indiana Wesleyan University

SOUTH
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year:
Chase Hodges, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Joaquin Marshall, Warner University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Camille Gbaguidi, Savannah College of Art & Design
ITA Rookie of the Year: Jelena Djordan, William Carey University
ITA Player to Watch: Mariah Plauth, University of Mobile
ITA Most Improved Senior: Klara Dohnalova, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Valeria Podda, Georgia Gwinnett College
ITA Community Service Award: Georgia Gwinnett College