GREENWOOD, SC – The Peach Belt Conference announced the 2012 women’s tennis All-Conference team at a banquet in Greenwood, S.C. on the eve of the conference championship tournament. Columbus State’s Paola Cigui was named the league’s Player of the Year while Armstrong Atlantic State’s Clara Perez was tabbed the Freshman of the Year and coach Simon Earnshaw the Coach of the Year.
Cigui finished the regular season 22-0 in singles play and is the only player in the Peach Belt to play all of her matches at #1 singles and go undefeated on the year. The sophomore from Trieste, Italy, defeated four top-40 players in 2012 including the #4 and #9-ranked players in the nation. A three-time PBC Player of the Week, was taken to a third set only twice during the season and won 13 matches where she dropped three games or fewer. Ranked #10 in the nation in singles, she becomes the first Columbus State women’s tennis player to be named the PBC Player of the Year.
Clara Perez finished her first season of collegiate tennis undefeated with a 17-0 record in singles and was also undefeated in doubles in league play. The freshman from Madrid, Spain, won all 17 of her singles matches in straight sets and never gave up more than six games in any match. She was 8-0 at #5 singles and 9-0 at #6 singles this season. Perez is currently ranked #30 in the nation in singles play and her doubles team with Kathleen Henry is #15 nationally. Perez becomes the fourth Pirate to be named the PBC Freshman of the Year in the last five years and the ninth overall.
Armstrong Atlantic State won their ninth straight PBC regular-season championship and are in position to win their ninth straight PBC Tournament title, all under the guidance of head coach Simon Earnshaw. In his 13th season at the school, coach Earnshaw has kept the Pirates at the top of the DII women’s tennis world, winning four national championships. In 2012 the Pirates once again ran the table, going undefeated in conference play for the ninth straight season and sitting 20-0 overall and ranked #3 in the nation. Earnshaw takes the women’s Coach of the Year award for the sixth time in a row and has won the award 10 times in his career. He has also won the men’s Coach of the Year award five times, including this season.
The 2012 All-Conference team is listed below as selected by the league’s head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own players.
2012 Peach Belt
Women's Tennis All-Conference Team
Mona Blauen, Francis Marion
Paola Cigui, Columbus State
Marina Ferreira, Augusta State
Aleksandra Filipovski, Armstrong
Jitka Gavdunova, Francis Marion
Barbora Krtickova, Armstrong
Paola Cigui & Milica Tomic, Columbus State
Jitka Gavdunova & Mona Blauen, Francis Marion
Barbora Krtickova & Aleksandra Filipovski, Armstrong
Marie Cercelletti, Clayton State
Veronica Figueroa, Flagler
Marlen Hacke, Armstrong
Kathleen Henry, Armstrong
Olga Kalodzitsa, Armstrong
Lisa Setyon-Ortenzio, Georgia College
Marlen Hacke & Olga Kalodzitsa, Armstrong
Kathleen Henry & Clara Perez, Armstrong
Lisa Setyon-Ortenzio & Kayla Barksdale, Georgia College
Player of the Year
Paola Cigui, Columbus State
Freshman of the Year
Clara Perez, Armstrong
Coach of the Year
Simon Earnshaw, Armstrong