ITA Places Nine Women’s Tennis Players on All-America Team
SKILLMAN, NJ – A dominant season of women’s tennis resulted in more national recognition as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) placed nine Peach Belt Conference women’s tennis players on the All-America team. To be named an All-American, a player must be ranked in the top 20 of the final Campbell/ITA singles rankings or among the top 10 doubles teams in the final ranking. Armstrong Atlantic State, the NCAA National Champions, led all schools in the country with an incredible five All-Americans while Columbus State and Francis Marion added two each. The Peach Belt had, by far, the most All-Americans of any conference in the nation with more than 1/3 of all spots.
The Pirates finished 2012 with a perfect 29-0 record after knocking off previous No. 1 BYU-Hawaii, 5-2, in the 2012 National Championship match. Armstrong moved up from No. 3 to No. 1 after also beating No. 2 Barry in the semifinals to finish the year as the only unbeaten team in Division II.
Individually, Armstrong placed five players in both the singles and doubles top 20 and top 10, led by sophomores Barbora Krtickova and Aleksandra Filipovski, who finished the year ranked No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, in singles. Sophomore Olga Kalodzitsa finished the season ranked No. 15 in singles while senior Kathleen Henry wound up ranked a career-high No. 19 in singles and sophomore Marlen Hacke at No. 21.
For Columbus State, sophomore Paola Cigui was the top-ranked singles player in the Peach Belt, finishing #5 in the nation to earn All-America status. The 2012 PBC Player of the Year, she was 23-0 in singles play, losing just four sets the entire year and going 4-0 against nationally-ranked opponents. She also received the ITA National Player to Watch Award which is given to a non-senior player that had an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level for the rest of their career.
Cigui and doubles partner Milica Tomic were 13-3 and 5-1 inside the Peach Belt Conference. Together, they defeated four nationally ranked opponents including one victory over a top-10 ranked tandem. For their work in the regular season, the duo was a first team All-PBC selection. The duo is the #6-ranked team in the nation.
Francis Marion senior Jitka Gavdunova (18-2) is ranked ninth nationally among Division II women's singles players. Gavdunova was ranked 13th at the conclusion of her junior year and 37th as a sophomore, and concluded her career at FMU with a 71-8 singles record.
The doubles duo of Gavdunova and Mona Blauen (19-3) ranked seventh nationally in Division II, up five positions from No. 12 at the end of the 2011 campaign and up 10 spots from 17th in 2010. The pair registered a 51-10 mark in three seasons playing together.