May 15, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army women’s tennis announced its team-award winners on Tuesday, as the Black Knights recognized individuals who helped lead their team to an eighth consecutive NCAA Championship berth.
Reigning Patriot League Player of the Year sophomore Jamila Paul earned the team’s top individual honor as she collected the Most Valuable Player certificate. Paul, who finished the season with a 21-8 singles record and 23-9 doubles mark, put together a 15-match undefeated streak before falling in the season finale at No. 8 Alabama.
Along with junior co-captain Erin Colton, the pair went 19-3 in dual matches for the second-best winning percentage on the team. Paul was also tabbed the team’s Unsung Hero.
Colton garnered the Hardest Worker award as head coach Paul Peck applauded the junior’s tireless work ethic. Colton, who played the entire season at No. 1 singles, was always pitted against the opponents’ top player, totaling a 6-12 dual mark.
Sophomores Margaret Iliev and Carly Riney were named the team’s Most Improved Doubles Pair after registering the top winning percentage on the squad. Iliev and Riney went 15-2 in duals for an .882 clip, after teaming together for just six matches in the 2010-11 season. The sophomores went 12-2 at No. 3 and 3-0 at No. 2 in 2011-12.
Sisterly duo Elle and Della Taylor were named Army’s Most Valuable Doubles Pair after tallying the most wins by a Black Knight twosome since 2004-05. The Taylors moved into a tie for 10th on Army’s single-season doubles wins list after registering a 27-12 record, exclusively at the No. 1 spot. Their 19 dual wins were a team best.
Army singles wins leader freshman Natalie Allen was tabbed the Black Knights’ Rookie of the Year. Allen went 29-7 in singles play for the most wins by an Army player since 2004-05. The 29 victories rank No. 3 on the Black Knights’ single-season wins list. Allen, who also copped the Patriot League’s top newcomer honor, went undefeated in her final 12 matches, including nine consecutive straight-set victories.
Allen’s classmate Alyssa Hanson was honored with the team’s Intestinal Fortitude Award. Hanson, who came to West Point as a four-star recruit out of Georgia, battled injuries throughout her first season at the Academy. Despite the setbacks, Hanson was committed to helping the team succeed.
Rounding out the honors, junior co-captain Larraine Saavedra earned the Team Spirit Award for the second consecutive season. Despite only competing in seven dual matches, Saavedra was always the most vocal leader on and off the court, constantly serving as a source of inspiration for her fellow teammates.
Army finished the season with a 22-7 record, including 5-0 in Patriot League matches. The Black Knights won their 13th conference crown while beating rival Navy in the title match for the second straight season.
2011-12 ARMY WOMEN’S TENNIS TEAM AWARDS
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
MOST IMPROVED SINGLES PLAYER
MOST IMPROVED DOUBLES PAIR
Margaret Iliev, Carly Riney
MOST VALUABLE DOUBLES PAIR
Della Taylor, Elle Taylor
INTESTINAL FORTITUDE AWARD
TEAM SPIRIT AWARD
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR