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Paladins Sweep Southern Conference Post-Season Awards For Second-Consecutive Season

Paladins Sweep Southern Conference Post-Season Awards For Second-Consecutive Season

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Furman's Ansley Speaks has been named the 2017 Southern Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Year, while Paladin head coach Adam Herendeen was named the league's Coach of the Year, and Furman's Danni Vines was tabbed the Freshman of the Year, as announced today by the league office.  Postseason balloting was conducted by the league's head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. 

Speaks, who was also the league's player of the year in 2014 and 2016, is just the third player in the history of the Southern Conference to win the award three times, joining Georgia Southern's Elizabeth Nieto (1994-96) and Southern Conference Hall of Famer Megan Dunigan of Furman (1999-2002).  A native of Simpsonville, S.C., Speaks also earned a spot on the all-conference first team for singles for the fourth consecutive season.  She finished the season 20-3 in singles  play and posted a 19-4 record in doubles competition and was named to the All-SoCon first team for doubles along with partner junior Aryn Greene.

Herendeen garnered coach of the year honors for the second-consecutive season.  After winning the award in 2016, he guided the Paladins to their second-straight regular-season title with a 7-0 record in conference play. The Paladins are 20-5 this spring and are the No. 1 seed in this week's Southern Conference women's tennis tournament. Five of Herendeen's players earned postseason awards this year.

Vines, who hails from Elizabethton, Tenn., turned in a strong freshman campaign for the Paladins, posting an 18-5 singles record this spring, including a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play.  She also earned a spot on the all-conference first team in singles and was chosen with partner Katty Weymouth for first-team all-conference in doubles play.  Vines, Weymouth and Speaks have all been named the league's Freshman of the Year during their careers.

The second-team all-conference selections are awarded based on position.  Weymouth garnered all-conference second team honors at flight two after recording a 12-8 overall record and 5-2 league mark, while rookie Katarina Kozarov was named to the team at flight four with a 17-6 overall singles record and perfect 7-0 SoCon mark.  In doubles, Kozarov and senior Blair Martin formed the No. 3 team after posting a 10-0 overall mark and 7-0 SoCon record.

Vines and Kozarov were named to the SoCon All-Freshman team.

"We are grateful to receive each one of these awards," said Herendeen.  "It is a great honor for our program and a sign of just how committed our girls have been to the process all year.  For Ansley to be honored as SoCon player of the year for a third time proves that she is one of the best players in program history.  Our focus is now on the conference tournament, and we are excited to host and compete again."

The 2017 Southern Conference Women's Tennis Championship begins Friday in Spartanburg, S.C.  Furman enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed and will square off against Western Carolina Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the opening round of the tournament.  

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information


2017 SoCon Women's Tennis Postseason Awards

All-Southern Conference First Team


Marina Guinart Espana, ETSU

Ioanna Markesini, ETSU

Ansley Speaks, Furman

Danni Vines, Furman

Katia Stavroulaki, Mercer

Ellie Gerlach, Samford



Marina Guinart Espana/Ioanna Markesini, ETSU

Ansley Speaks/Aryn Greene, Furman

Danni Vines/Katarina Weymouth, Furman


All-Southern Conference Second Team

Singles (by position)

No. 1 – Samantha Caswell, Chattanooga

No. 2 – Katarina Weymouth, Furman

No. 3 – Alory Pereira, ETSU

No. 4 – Katarina Kozarov, Furman

No. 5 – Haley Powell, Mercer

No. 6 – Annika Hepp, Samford


Doubles (by position)

No. 1 – Samantha Caswell/Rachele Gazzola, UTC

No. 2 – Lauren McCall/Jordan Strickland, WCU

No. 3 – Katarina Kozarov/Blair Martin, Furman


Southern Conference All-Freshman Team

Yi Chi Ma, ETSU

Danni Vines, Furman

Katarina Kozarov, Furman

Sophia Adams, UNCG

Elsa Pool, Samford

Jordan Strickland, Western Carolina


Player of the Year

Ansley Speaks, Furman


Freshman of the Year

Danni Vines, Furman


Co-Sportsmanship Award

Jordan Strickland, Western Carolina

Catherine Martin, Wofford


Coach of the Year

Adam Herendeen, Furman