Women's Tennis Awards Announced
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 04/19/2017
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Furman's Ansley Speaks
Courtesy: Southern Conference

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Furman’s Ansley Speaks has been named the 2017 Southern Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Year for the second consecutive season as the league announced its postseason awards Wednesday (April 19). Furman’s Adam Herendeen was named the league’s Coach of the Year, while Furman’s Danni Vines was tabbed the Freshman of the Year. Western Carolina’s Jordan Strickland and Wofford’s Catherine Martin shared the Sportsmanship Award. Postseason balloting was conducted by the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.

Speaks becomes a three-time winner of the Player of the Year award, after having won it in 2014 and 2016. She is just the third player in the history of the Southern Conference to win the award three times, joining Georgia Southern’s Elizabeth Nieto (1994-96) and Southern Conference Hall of Famer Megan Dunigan of Furman (1999-2002). Speaks also earned a spot on the all-conference first team for the fourth consecutive season.  She finished the season 20-3 in singles  play and posted a 19-4 record in doubles competition. 

Herendeen garnered Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. After winning the award in 2016, he guided the Paladins to the league’s regular-season title with a 7-0 record in conference play. The Paladins are 20-5 this spring and are the No. 1 seed in this week’s Southern Conference women’s tennis tournament. Five of Herendeen’s players earned postseason awards this year.

Vines turned in a strong campaign for the Paladins, posting an 18-5 singles record this spring, including a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play. She also earned a spot on the all-conference first team in singles and was chosen with partner Katarina Weymouth for first-team all-conference in doubles play. Vines, Weymouth and Speaks have all been named the league’s Freshman of the Year during their careers.

Strickland and Martin shared the Sportsmanship Award in balloting conducted by the coaches. Strickland went 13-12 in singles and 17-5 in doubles play during her first season at WCU and also secured a spot on the All-Freshman team. She is the first Catamount to win the Sportsmanship Award since Suzanna Sjokvist in 2007. Martin joins Audrey Coventry in 2014 as the only two Terriers to win the award. Martin went 7-15 for the Terriers in singles play at No. 1. She teamed with Lauren Reid at No. 2 doubles and posted a 13-8 record.

Speaks and Vines were joined on the all-conference first team by a pair of ETSU Bucs. Marina Guinart Espana and Ioanna Markesini garnered first-team honors and were joined by Mercer’s Katia Stavroulaki and Samford’s Ellie Gerlach. Stavroulaki is making her second appearance on the first team, after earning the nod in 2016.

Three teams were selected for first-team all-conference in doubles play. ETSU’s Espana and Markesini were chosen to the first team. Furman’s top two teams also earned the nod, with Speaks and partner Aryn Greene joining Weymouth and Vines.

The second-team all-conference selections are awarded based on position. Furman earned two positions with Weymouth earning the nod at No. 2, and Katarina Kozarov chosen at No. 4. Chattanooga’s Samantha Caswell was picked at No. 1 singles, while ETSU’s Alory Pereira earned the nod at the No. 3 position. Haley Powell of Mercer was named second team at No. 5 and Samford’s Annika Hepp picked up the No. 6 position.

UTC’s Caswell and Rachele Gazzola comprise the second-team No. 1 doubles team, while Western Carolina’s Lauren McCall and Strickland form the No. 2 team. The Paladins’ Kozarov and Blair Martin earned second-team doubles honors at No. 3.

Vines and Kozarov were selected to the All-Freshman team, where they were joined by ETSU’s Yi Chi Ma, UNCG’s Sophia Adams, Samford’s Elsa Pool and WCU’s Strickland.

The 2017 Southern Conference Women’s Tennis Championship begins Friday.


2017 SoCon Women’s Tennis Postseason Awards

First Team
Marina Guinart Espana, ETSU
Ioanna Markesini, ETSU
Ansley Speaks, Furman
Danni Vines, Furman
Katia Stavroulaki, Mercer
Ellie Gerlach, Samford

Marina Guinart Espana/Ioanna Markesini, ETSU
Ansley Speaks/Aryn Greene, Furman
Danni Vines/Katarina Weymouth, Furman

Second Team
Singles (by position)
No. 1 – Samantha Caswell, Chattanooga
No. 2 – Katarina Weymouth, Furman
No. 3 – Alory Pereira, ETSU
No. 4 – Katarina Kozarov, Furman
No. 5 – Haley Powell, Mercer
No. 6 – Annika Hepp, Samford

Doubles (by position)
No. 1 – Samantha Caswell/Rachele Gazzola, UTC
No. 2 – Lauren McCall/Jordan Strickland, WCU
No. 3 – Katarina Kozarov/Blair Martin, Furman

Yi Chi Ma, ETSU
Danni Vines, Furman
Katarina Kozarov, Furman
Sophia Adams, UNCG
Elsa Pool, Samford
Jordan Strickland, Western Carolina

Player of the Year
Ansley Speaks, Furman

Freshman of the Year
Danni Vines, Furman

Co-Sportsmanship Award
Jordan Strickland, Western Carolina
Catherine Martin, Wofford

Coach of the Year
Adam Herendeen, Furman

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