FLORENCE, SC – The Peach Belt Conference announced the 2013 women’s tennis All-Conference team during a banquet on the eve of the league tournament which is being held in Florence, S.C. Columbus State’s Paola Cigui was named the PBC Player of the Year and Francis Marion’s Lena Specht the Freshman of the Year. Armstrong Atlantic State’s Simon Earnshaw was honored as the Coach of the Year.
Six doubles teams and 13 singles players were recognized as All-Conference. The first team All-Conference singles was expanded to seven due to a tie in the voting.
Paola Cigui is the #2-ranked player in the nation in a poll that was released just prior to her beating BYU-Hawaii’s Annie Hwang, the #1 player in the nation. A junior from Trieste, Italy, Cigui is one of three PBC players to go undefeated in singles play but the only one to do so playing all of her matches at #1 singles. At 19-0 on the year, she has defeated four nationally-ranked players and has not lost a singles match in her collegiate career, a record of 42 straight matches. Cigui, who became the first CSU women’s tennis player ever to be named the PBC Player of the Year last season, has now won back-to-back honors, becoming the sixth PBC player to do so.
Lena Specht stormed through her first year of collegiate tennis, going 18-1 in singles play and helping Francis Marion to a #10 national ranking and #3 seed for the PBC Tournament. A true freshman from Schwetzingen, Germany, Specht went 15-0 at #5 singles and was 2-1 at #4. Her only loss of the season came to the #23-ranked player in the nation and she dropped only two sets in singles play. She was 17-2 in doubles overall, going 11-1 with partner Kimberly Hurter, including a 7-0 mark at #3. Specht is the second Patriot to be named the PBC Freshman of the Year, the first since Annamarie Karia in 1998.
Simon Earnshaw has guided the Armstrong women’s tennis team to their 10th straight PBC regular-season championship and are the #1-ranked team in the nation. In his 14th season with the Pirates, Earnshaw has won five NCAA National Championships, including last season, and has his team ready to defend their PBC Tournament title for the 10th year in a row. The Coach of the Year honor is his seventh in a row and 11th overall, more than any PBC coach in any sport in PBC history.
The 2013 women’s tennis All-Conference team is listed below as selected by the league’s head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.
2013 Peach Belt
Women's Tennis All-Conference Team
Mona Blauen & Julia Graf, Francis Marion
Paola Cigui & Carolin Weikard, Columbus State
Barbora Krtickova & Aleksandra Filipovski, Armstrong
Kayla Barksdale & Katie Krupp, Georgia College
Jane Plevako & Charlotte Dawson, Young Harris
Marlen Hacke & Olga Kalodzitsa, Armstrong
Mona Blauen, Francis Marion
Paola Cigui, Columbus State
Aleksandra Filipovski, Armstrong
Barbora Krtickova, Armstrong
Clara Perez, Armstrong
Jane Plevako, Young Harris
Carolin Weikard, Columbus State
Second Team Singles
Charlotte Dawson, Young Harris
Marlen Hacke, Armstrong
Olivera Jokic, Columbus State
Olga Kalodzitsa, Armstrong
Hannah Keeling, Clayton State
Leigh Anne McAfee, UNC Pembroke
Player of the Year
Paola Cigui, Columbus State
Freshman of the Year
Lena Specht, Francis Marion
Coach of the Year
Simon Earnshaw, Armstrong
|Women's Tennis 1st Team All-Conference|
|Women's Tennis 2nd Team All-Conference|
|(L to R): PBC Freshman of the Year Lena Specht of Francis Marion; PBC Player of the Year Paola Cigui of Columbus State and PBC Coach of the Year Simon Earnshaw from Armstrong.|