May 19, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - For the first time in program history, two members of the Irish women's tennis squad were recognized with ITA national awards, the association announced Tuesday.
Kelcy Tefft was named the ITA National Senior Player of the Year, while freshman Kristy Frilling was selected as the ITA National Player to Watch. Both players also earned those awards for the Midwest region.
Tefft is just the second Irish player to win the Senior Player of the Year award, joining 2001 recipient Michelle Dasso. Frilling is Notre Dame's first-ever National Player to Watch.
According to the ITA web site, the Player to Watch award "goes to a player who has an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level for the rest of his or her career. This award criteria also includes a player's sportsmanship and character."
One of the top women's tennis players in program history, Tefft has rewritten the Irish record books during her career. This season, she became the first Irish women's tennis player to earn all-BIG EAST honors for four straight years. The senior captain was also named the BIG EAST Player of the Year after leading the Irish to their second consecutive BIG EAST crown.
Tefft makes up half of the most successful senior class in Irish women's tennis history. During her career, Notre Dame has recorded a 105-20 overall record and four straight top-20 finishes. The Irish have won three BIG EAST Championships and made four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships. This season, the Irish advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in program history.
An All-American in '08, Tefft is ranked first all-time in the Irish record books with 154 doubles wins, 99 doubles dual-match wins, and 264 combined wins. Her 110 singles victories place her fourth all-time among the Irish greats.
Tefft has taken home the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles crown every year from 2006-08. She was the '07 ITA National Indoor Doubles Champion with former partner Brook Buck, and, this fall, Tefft advanced to the finals of the '08 Indoor Doubles Championship with Frilling. She has a 29-14 singles record this season and is 44-6 in doubles matches.
Frilling has had one of the most successful freshman seasons in program history. The BIG EAST Freshman of the Year went 29-10 overall, including a 20-9 mark in dual matches at first and second singles and an 8-5 record against nationally-ranked opponents. Frilling posted the most impressive win of her career in the NCAA round of 16 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Clemson's 14th-ranked Josipa Bek. The Sidney, Ohio native opened her collegiate career by taking the singles and doubles titles at the Fall Gator Classic. She is currently ranked 38th in singles nationally.
Her 39 doubles wins ranks third all-time on the single-season doubles wins list. Frilling and Tefft are currently tied for second on the single-season doubles team wins list with 36 and are just three victories out of first place.
After leading the Irish to their best NCAA tournament finish in program history, Tefft and Frilling will compete at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships beginning Wednesday at the Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.
2009 ITA National Award Winners
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year: Jeff Wallace, Georgia
ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year: (co-winners) Oliver Foreman, Florida State and Damon Coupe, Washington
ITA National Senior Player of the Year: Kelcy Tefft, Notre Dame
ITA National Rookie of the Year: Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia
ITA National Player to Watch: Kristy Frilling, Notre Dame
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship: Dunja Antunovic, DePaul
ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship: Kerstin Pahl, Western Michigan