CORPUS CHRISTI – Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team continues to make history as Judit Vives became the first Islanders freshman to garner First Team All-Southland honors in singles play today, while Celia Rodriguez was named Second Team All-Southland for the second consecutive year. In addition, Maider Martin (No. 3), Sandra Burges (No. 5) and Rodriguez (No. 4) each earned conference championships in singles play.
The Islanders (19-5, 11-1 SLC) earned a share of the Southland Conference regular-season title for the first time in program history and will enter Friday's Southland Conference Tournament, hosted by the Islanders, with the No. 2 seed. Vives and Rodriguez have been outstanding leaders for the Islanders in singles play this season.
In the final-regular season match of the year, Vives earned her 12th straight singles win to stay undefeated in No. 2 singles. The freshman has tallied an 18-1 singles record in her first year and an 11-1 mark in the conference. After compiling a 6-0 record at No. 6 singles, she moved her way up to No. 4 and tallied a 1-1 record, before picking up five wins at No. 3. Vives, in her current position of No. 2 singles has put together a perfect 6-0 mark.
"I'm incredibly proud of the maturity and poise that Judit showed all year for a freshman," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "She was put immediately in match-clinching situations, and showed great courage and fighting spirit. She has been a great fighter all year and plays with tremendous character, courage and heart. She won a lot of respect on this team."
Rodriguez, the two-time second team all-conference recipient, has had another impressive year for the Islanders in singles play. The Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain native has won 12 consecutive singles victories and has tallied an incredible 15-0 record in No. 4 singles. In her two years, she has only dropped two conference losses for a combined 16-2 record. This season, she has compiled an overall 19-3 mark, including a 10-1 mark in Southland play. Rodriguez also earned the conference championship at No. 4 singles for her perfect 8-0 record in conference play.
"Celia has been so mentally tough," Moore said. "She is a very talented player, but what impresses me the most about Celia is that she shows up every match to fight as hard as she can with no exceptions ever. She really does all the things that you appreciate as a coach and a teammate."
After earning Southland honors last season in doubles play, Martin improved her game in singles play to earn the conference championship at No. 3 singles after registering a 6-1 mark in the position, including 6-0 record in the conference.
"I'm really proud of Maider," Moore said. "She got off to a slow start, but she cares so much and works so hard, I knew she would be playing great at the end of the year, because of her character and commitment. I really respect Maider's perseverance and the toughness she showed, and the way she improved each week of the season. She is playing great tennis right now and I love the message she sends, that if you keep chopping wood, good things will happen."
Burges, the heart and soul of the Islanders team secured the conference championship at No. 5 singles after powering her way to a 10-1 mark in the slot in Southland action. The all-time singles leader in Islanders history has collected an 18-5 overall record this season, including an 11-1 record in the Southland. She holds an all-time career record of 59-21 and a 32-11 Southland record. On Tuesday, she was named the Southland Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Week after clinching three Southland Conference singles victories en route to clinching the final regular-season match for the Islanders.
"What an amazing career Sandra has had here," Moore said. "She has truly been excellent in every area that you could ask as a coach. She is a great competitor, who always shows up to compete hard. She works with great work ethic and she cares as much about the team as anyone I have ever coached. Her heart and fight and commitment to this team have been one of the cornerstones that have built this program. A truly special senior."
The Islanders will host the men's and women's Southland Conference Tournament this weekend at the Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. The women's team earned the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 7 Central Arkansas on Friday, April 25, at 2 p.m. For more information on the tournament click HERE.
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2014 All-Southland Conference Women's Tennis Teams and Individual Awards
Player of the Year: Klaudia Gawlik, McNeese State
Freshman of the Year: Sara Castellano, McNeese State
Newcomer of the Year: Kelsey Williams, Central Arkansas
Coach of the Year: Danielle Steinberg, McNeese State
Klaudia Gawlik, McNeese State
Sara Castellano, McNeese State
Renee Villarreal, Southeastern Louisiana
Micah Hermsdorf, Abilene Christian
Nataly Krutova, Northwestern State
Judit Vives, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Stephanie Barnett, Nicholls
Tatiana Larina, Northwestern State
Soledad Calderon Arroyo, New Orleans
Celia Rodriguez, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Julia Kral, McNeese State
Polina Konop, Northwestern State
Polina Konop/Tatiana Larina, Northwestern State
Klaudia Gawlik/Sara Castellano, McNeese State
Nataly Krutova/Kateryna Piatakova, Northwestern State
Micah Hermsdorf/Kaysie Hermsdorf, Abilene Christian
Malena Gordo/Julia Lorca, Stephen F. Austin
Soledad Calderon Arroyo/Marta Sans, New Orleans
No. 1 Singles: Klaudia Gawlik, McNeese State (12-0)
No. 2 Singles: Sara Castellano, McNeese State (12-0)
No. 3 Singles: Maider Martin, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (6-0)
No. 4 Singles: Celia Rodriguez, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8-0)
No. 5 Singles: Sandra Burges, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (10-1)
Isla Brock, Nicholls (10-1)
No. 6 Singles: Annabelle Peacock, McNeese State (9-1)
No. 1 Doubles: Polina Konop/Tatiana Larina, Northwestern State (9-1)
No. 2 Doubles: Natalya Krutova/Kateryna Piatakova, Northwestern State (10-0)
No. 3 Doubles: Isabella Costa/Natalie Petaia, Sam Houston State (5-1)