Mariya Kovaleva Becomes Four-Time Horizon League Player Of The Year

Mariya Kovaleva
Mariya Kovaleva

April 27, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS – UIC women’s tennis senior Mariya Kovaleva was named Horizon League Women’s Tennis Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive season on Friday evening at the League’s championship banquet.  Kovaleva, along with Teona Tsertsvadze, Haley Craig and Elisa Simonetti, also earned All-League accolades.

"I am very proud of Mariya," head coach Shannon Tully said.  "It is a very well deserved award for an excellent player.  Winning it four years in a row is amazing and I am definitely excited for her."

Hailing from Almaty, Kazakhstan, Kovaleva is the first student-athlete in UIC and Horizon League history to come away with the Player of the Year honor in four straight seasons.  A two-time athlete of the week this season, she went 13-5 at No. 1 singles, 8-0 in the League, and combined with Craig in doubles at No. 1 and 2 for respective records of 8-3 and 5-3 and an overall 6-2 record against conference opponents.

Kovaleva has been competing at the No. 1 singles position since her freshman season with the Flames.  In her career at UIC, she has a 92-40 overall record, while producing a perfect 37-0 against Horizon League opponents.  When competing in doubles, she has gone 93-39, 31-6 in the Horizon League.  With her career singles and doubles totals, Kovaleva is the winningest player in UIC history.

Members of the women’s tennis team were also represented in the selection of All-League First and Second Teams.  Kovaleva and Tsertsvadze were named to the First Team, as Craig and Simonetti earned placement on the Second Team.

A senior and two-time athlete of the week this season, Tsertsvadze went 19-12 in singles, 11-7 at No. 2 and 7-1 against Horizon League opponents.  In doubles, she produced a 20-9 record, going 11-0 at No. 2 with Simonetti and 4-4 at No. 1, as the duo went a perfect 8-0 in the League and ended the regular season on an 11-match win streak.

A junior transfer, Craig produced the best singles record on the season for the Flames, going 23-6 overall, 10-2 at No. 3 and 7-1 versus conference foes.  She came away with a 22-11 doubles record, combining with Kovaleva for most of the season and going 6-2 against Horizon League opponents.

Flawless at No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles this season, Simonetti, a senior, produced an overall 20-9 singles record, went a perfect 8-0 in the League and ended the regular season on a 12-match win streak.  She produced a 23-11 doubles record, capturing the most wins on the team, while going 15-4 and undefeated against conference opponents with Tsertsvadze.

The Flames are scheduled to take on Butler in the second round of the Horizon League Championship on Saturday at 8 a.m. (CT) at West Indy Racquet Club.  The winner moves on to the Championship match on Sunday.

2012 Women’s Tennis Awards
Player of the Year

     Mariya Kovaleva, UIC                                 
Newcomer of the Year

     Marta Burak, Youngstown State                
Herb Foster Sportsmanship Award

     Morgan Weuve, Green Bay                       
Coach of the Year

     Sean McInerney, Milwaukee                      

Women’s All-League Teams
First Team

     Mariya Kovaleva, UIC
     Maddy Soule, Milwaukee
     Marta Burak, Youngstown State
     Teona Tsertsvadze, UIC
     Caroline Hedrick, Butler
     Catrine Bjerrehus, Cleveland State
Second Team

     Maria Lazaris, Cleveland State
     Haley Craig, UIC
     Elisa Simonetti, UIC
     Lauren Hankle, Youngstown State
     Chelsea Bailey, Milwaukee
     Stephanie McLoughlin, Butler