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W&M's Maria Belaya with CAA Assistant Commissioner Steve Kanaby

W&M's Belaya Leads All-CAA Women's Tennis Team

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 04/18/2013
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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (April 18, 2013) – William & Mary junior Maria Belaya (Melbourne, Fla.) was selected as the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association women’s tennis Player of the Year by a committee of the league’s head coaches.

Also receiving top women’s tennis honors from the conference were William & Mary freshman Leeza Nemchinov (Moscow, Russia), who was named CAA Rookie of the Year, and W&M’s Tyler Thomson, who was selected as the CAA Coach of the Year.

Belaya achieved a 13-7 dual match record in singles this spring, including an 11-7 mark at the No. 1 position. The junior, who is currently ranked #116 nationally in singles by the ITA, won 10 of her final 13 matches for the Tribe, including two victories over nationally ranked foes. In doubles, she and partner Jeltje Loomans are currently ranked #9 in the nation after going 22-4 this season, including a 13-3 mark in dual matches. Belaya is the first Tribe player to be selected as the CAA Player of the Year since 2008.

Nemchinov had an impressive freshman season for the Tribe, compiling a 16-4 dual match record at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions. She won 12 of her last 14 regular-season matches and two of her four setbacks were to nationally ranked opponents. Nemchinov also contributed seven doubles victories in dual match competition with several different partners.  She is W&M’s first CAA Rookie of the Year since 2007.

In his first season at William & Mary, Thomson guided the Tribe to a 15-5 overall record and the top seed for the CAA Championship. W&M was ranked as high as #25 in the nation this season and is currently at #48. The Tribe recorded four victories over nationally ranked teams this season and four of their five setbacks were to squads ranked in the top 65.

Joining Belaya and Nemchinov on the All-CAA first team in singles was W&M senior Anik Cepeda. Also selected to the first team in singles were Drexel junior Zeynep Mafa, James Madison sophomore Taylor Pinchoff and UNCW junior Angie Sekely.

Three doubles teams received first-team All-CAA honors as well. Chosen to the squad were W&M’s Belaya and Loomans, Pinchoff and senior Michelle Nguyen of James Madison, and Cepeda and junior Hope Johnson from W&M.

The awards were presented Thursday night prior to the start of the 2013 CAA Tennis Championships, which get underway on Friday at the Millie West Tennis Facility on the campus of the College of William & Mary. The tournament runs through Sunday, with the women’s championship match set for 10 a.m. on April 21.

2013 ALL-CAA WOMEN’S TENNIS TEAMS`

First Team

Singles

Maria Belaya, William & Mary                Jr.                                    Melbourne, Fla.

Anik Cepeda, William & Mary                  Sr.                                   College Station, Texas

Zeynep Mafa, Drexel                                   Jr.                                    Los Angeles, Calif.

Leeza Nemchinov, William & Mary         Fr.                                   Moscow, Russia

Taylor Pinchoff, James Madison              So.                                   Sylvan Lake, Mich.

Angie Sekely, UNCW                                    Jr.                                    Mississauga, Canada

Doubles

Maria Belaya, William & Mary                Jr.                                    Melbourne, Fla.

Jeltje Loomans, William & Mary              Jr.                                    Houten, The Netherlands

Taylor Pinchoff, James Madison              So.                                   Sylvan Lake, Mich.

Michelle Nguyen, James Madison           Sr.                                   Springfield, Va.

Anik Cepeda, William & Mary                  Sr.                                   College Station, Texas

Hope Johnson, William & Mary               Jr.                                    Welwyn Garden City, U.K.

Second Team

Singles

Kelly Cameron, UNCW                                Jr.                                    Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Danea Jonjic’, Delaware                            Fr.                                   Split, Croatia

Jeltje Loomans, William & Mary              Jr.                                    Houten, The Netherlands

Christina Riley, UNCW                               Sr.                                   Avon, Ind.

Alyssa Ritchie, UNCW                                 So.                                   Franklin, Ohio

Dorothy Safron, Delaware                         Jr.                                    New York, N.Y.

Doubles

Katherine Bulling, James Madison          Sr.                                   Loveland, Ohio

Cara Wirth, James Madison                     Fr.                                   Reading, Pa.

Kelly Cameron, UNCW                                Jr.                                    Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Miller Hales, UNCW                                    So.                                   Wilmington, N.C.

Nicole Pivonka, Drexel                               So.                                   Sarasota, Fla.

Emma Brook, Drexel                                    Sr.                                   Norwich, England

Third Team

Singles

Ruxandra Andriescu, James Madison     Jr.                                    Brampton, Ontario

Sarah Bowen, Hofstra                                 Fr.                                   Edmond, Okla.

Katherine Bulling, James Madison          Sr.                                   Loveland, Ohio

Hope Johnson, William & Mary               Jr.                                    Welwyn Garden City, U.K.

Jacqueline Palmucci, James Madison    Jr.                                    Aurora, Colo.

Nicole Pivonka, Drexel                               So.                                   Sarasota, Fla.

Doubles

Christine Kharkevich, UNCW                    Fr.                                   Houston, Texas

Alyssa Ritchie, UNCW                                 So.                                   Franklin, Ohio

Marcela Rosales, Drexel                            Jr.                                    Leon, Mexico

Zeynep Mafa, Drexel                                   Jr.                                    Los Angeles, Calif.

Dorothy Safron, Delaware                         Jr.                                    New York, N.Y.

Carmen Lai, Delaware                                Fr.                                   Sha Tin, Hong Kong

2013 CAA MEN’S TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:           Maria Belaya, William & Mary

2013 CAA MEN’S TENNIS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:           Leeza Nemchinov, William & Mary

2013 CAA MEN’S TENNIS COACH OF THE YEAR:            Tyler Thomson, William & Mary

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