Big South Announces 2012 Women's Tennis Awards

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) -  Winthrop's Yasmine Alkema (Algiers, Algeria) was tabbed the Big South Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Year, while Radford head coach Bruce Harrison was tabbed the League's Coach of the Year by the Conference's head coaches, it was announced this evening at the awards ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville, N.C.  Gardner-Webb's Alice Hopkins (Birmingham, England) was named the Freshman of the Year, while the League's sports information directors voted Coastal Carolina's Diana Mortlock (Dordrecht, South Africa) as the Big South Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Alkema, garnering the Big South Women's Tennis Player of the Year award for the second-straight season, finished with a 15-4 overall singles record and a 15-5 doubles mark.  She did not drop a single match in both singles and doubles Conference play, tallying perfect 8-0 records at the No. 1 spot.  The junior captured key victories over Wake Forest, Clemson, VCU and Marshall, all at the No. 1 position.  Alkema, a two-time Big South Conference Player of the Week, led the Eagles to an undefeated Conference season and their 15th regular-season championship in 20 years.  She was the unanimous pick for the honor, earning nine first-place votes and 18 points, and finishing ahead of Charleston Southern's Olga Makhova who tallied six points.

Harrison led his Highlanders to a 16-6 overall record and 4-4 in Conference play.  In his ninth season as the head coach of the Radford women's tennis team, Harrison has been his most successful as the Highlanders finished the season with 16 victories, the second-most in school history.  Radford earned the No. 4 seed in this week's Big South Women's Tennis Championship and will play No. 5 Gardner-Webb on April 19 at 10:30am.  Harrison tallied four first-place votes and nine points, finishing ahead of Winthrop head coach Cid Carvalho (three first-place votes and seven points).  The plaudit marks his second Big South Coach of the Year honor, as he was tabbed the Conference's Co-Coach of the Year on the men's side in 1992. 

Hopkins posted a 19-2 record in singles play, the most for a Gardner-Webb freshman under head coach Jim Corn.  She was instrumental in Gardner-Webb's 4-4 Conference mark, as Hopkins went 7-1 in League singles action.  Hopkins' 19 singles wins this season are the most for a Runnin' Bulldog player in the past four seasons.  She helped the Runnin' Bulldogs in doubles play as well, teaming up with Yasmine Doost for a 10-9 record at No. 2 doubles.  Hopkins gathered three first-place votes and eight points, two points ahead of Radford's Hannah Crawford, who had two top nods and six points.

Mortlock, a marketing major with a 4.00 GPA, finished the season with 17-4 overall record and 5-3 Conference mark.  The senior also performed well at the No. 1 doubles flight, teaming up with Miki Bunea for a 13-6 overall record and a 6-2 League tally.  Mortlock received six first-place votes and 77 points, 20 points ahead of Winthrop's Giovanna Portioli, who notched two first-place votes and 57 points.

Also announced were the All-Academic Team, the Women's Flight Winners and the All-Conference Singles and Doubles Award winners.  The Big South Conference Women's Tennis Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting begins Thursday at the Asheville Racquet Club South in Asheville, N.C., with four quarterfinal matches starting at 8:30am.  The semifinals will be played Friday beginning at 10:00am, while the title match is slated for Saturday morning at 9:00am ET.

2012 BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE WOMEN'S TENNIS ALL-CONFERENCE AND AWARD WINNERS

All-Academic Team
Anais Gomar, Campbell
Lindsay Krause, Presbyterian College
Giovanna Portioli, Winthrop
Zoe Hamel, UNC Asheville
Carol Lobel, Liberty
Diana Mortlock, Coastal Carolina
Ioana Oprea, Gardner-Webb
Alexandra Walters, Charleston Southern
Petra Dajevic, Radford

Women's Tennis Flight Winners
No. 1 Singles - Yasmine Alkema, Winthrop
No. 2 Singles - Andressa Garcia, Winthrop
No. 3 Singles - Sandra Herrera, Winthrop
No. 4 Singles - Giovanna Portioli, Winthrop
                      Katie Fosnacht, Coastal Carolina
No. 5 Singles - Alexandra Walters, Charleston Southern
No. 6 Singles - Monica Aguado, Winthrop

No. 1 Doubles - Yasmine Alkema/Andressa Garcia, Winthrop
No. 2 Doubles - Sandra Herrera/Giovanna Portioli, Winthrop
No. 3 Doubles - Maria Hesketh/Kourtney Kowal, Coastal Carolina                               

All-Conference Singles
Yasmine Alkema, Winthrop
Erica White, Gardner-Webb
Sandra Herrera, Winthrop
Olga Makhova, Charleston Southern
Andressa Garcia, Winthrop
Miki Bunea, Coastal Carolina
Alice Hopkins, Gardner-Webb
Karolina Chernaya, Campbell

All-Conference Doubles
Sandra Herrera/Giovanna Portioli, Winthrop
Miki Bunea/Diana Mortlock, Coastal Carolina
Borislava Nikolova/Karolina Chernaya, Campbell
Yasmine Alkema/Andressa Garcia, Winthrop
Olga Makhova/Marija Dzakovic, Charleston Southern

Player of the Year
Yasmine Alkema, Winthrop *

Freshman of the Year
Alice Hopkins, Gardner-Webb

Scholar Athlete of the Year
Diana Mortlock, Coastal Carolina

Coach of the Year
Bruce Harrison, Radford

* - unanimous selection