May 16, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A pair of University of Notre Dame women’s tennis student-athletes were named Intercollegiate Tennis Association award winners for the Midwest regional Monday, and will now be considered for national level awards, which will be announced May 23.
Senior Monica Robinson added to her award haul, earning recognition as the region’s Most Improved Player and the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner. Meanwhile, freshman Zoe Spence was named the ITA Midwest Rookie of the Year after an impactful initial campaign.
Robinson was named the Most Improved Player, which is given to a senior each season, after posting a 19-13 overall record, including a 14-9 mark at No. 1 singles during the dual season. A captain this season, Robinson also became Notre Dame’s first Midwest Region ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner since 2010 when Kali Krisik took home the award.
Already in 2017, Robinson was an All-ACC Second Team honoree and was named both a Francis Patrick O’Connor Award winner and Byron V. Kanaley Award winner at Notre Dame’s annual O.S.C.A.R.S. ceremony. The O’Connor Award is given to the student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspiration to their teams, while the Kanaley Award goes to the senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as students and leaders.
Spence became the first Irish ITA Midwest Region Rookie of the Year since Chrissie McGaffigan in 2010. The Chicago native led the Irish in wins for much of the season and finished the year with a 20-16 overall singles record, including a 15-12 mark in duals.
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master's degree from Georgetown University in 2013.