By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University women's tennis team has earned All-Academic Team status from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for the 2017-18 season. In addition, five Bearcat women's tennis players have been honored as ITA Scholar-Athletes. The five players are Sarah Dean (Fr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS), Siena Ginsburg (Fr., Bend, OR/Summit HS), Alexis Gjurasic (Jr., Olympia, WA/Capital HS), Sylvia Marr (Fr., Grants Pass, OR/Hidden Valley HS) and Mina Mizutani (So., Los Alamitos, CA/Los Alamitos HS).
"I'm really happy that my team is getting recognized for their efforts in the classroom," Willamette Head Women's Tennis Coach Bryce Parmelly said. "I know how hard they work and I know it's not easy balancing academics and athletics here at Willamette.
"Having five athletes earn scholar-athlete recognition this season is impressive," Parmelly added. "Sarah, Siena, Alexis, Sylvia, and Mina should be very proud of themselves."
A total of 735 All-Academic Teams and 4,328 Scholar-Athletes were selected nationwide from women's tennis and men's tennis squads in all three NCAA divisions, the NAIA and junior colleges.
The All-Academic Team award was received with a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or higher on a 4.0 scale during the academic year. All varsity letterwinners were included in each team's overall GPA.
Scholar-Athlete status was achieved if a player was a varsity letterwinner with a grade point average of at least 3.50 (4.0 scale) during the 2017-18 academic year. Athletes had to attend their current college or university for a least two semesters.
Willamette is a member of NCAA Division III, and the Bearcats compete in the Northwest Conference. In Division III, a total of 130 teams were chosen for the women's All-Academic list and 811 women's tennis players received Scholar-Athlete status. In the NWC, honors went to three women's teams and to 24 women's tennis athletes.
ITA Scholar-Athlete Award
Sarah Dean (Fr.) achieved an 11-6 record in singles, while playing in all 17 matches in 2017-18. She was 10-6 at #3 singles and also won a match at #2 singles. She went 8-8 in doubles, all with Marr at the #2 doubles position.
In NWC matches, Dean earned singles wins over Kristi Floyd of Pacific Lutheran, Jillian Studer of George Fox, and Megan Meatte of Pacific University. Dean is majoring in Politics at Willamette.
Siena Ginsburg (Fr.) registered a record of 8-7 in singles competition. She had a five-match winning streak during the season that included hard-fought battles with Victoria Bolshakova of Pacific Lutheran and Nicole Neumann of California Lutheran. Ginsburg won both matches in a super-tiebreaker played instead of a third set, outlasting Bolshakova, 6-7 (5-7), 6-0, 10-8, and downing Neumann, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5) 14-12. Both of those matches were at #5 singles, where she finished 8-3.
Ginsburg was 6-10 in doubles with Gjurasic. They earned back-to-back NWC wins over Barclay Fagg and Claire Fitgerald from the University of Puget Sound and against Floyd and Bolshakova of PLU. In six of their 10 losses in pro-set competition, Ginsburg and Gjurasic won at least six games. Ginsburg has not yet declared a major.
Alexis Gjurasic (Jr.) received the ITA Scholar-Athlete award for the third consecutive season. This past year, she studied aboard in the fall and competed with Ginsburg in #3 doubles doubles during all 16 matches in the spring.
A year ago in 2016-17, she played in all 15 dual matches in both singles and doubles. She also played in all 15 matches in singles and doubles as a freshman in 2015-16.
As a student, Gjurasic is working on a double major in Anthropology and French and Francophone Studies. She was Willamette's selection from women's tennis for the 2015-16 NWC All-Sportsmanship Team after displaying good sportsmanship throughout the season.
Sylvia Marr (Fr.) began her Willamette career by playing competing in singles in all 17 matches. She also played in 16 doubles matches. She was 8-8 with Dean at #2 doubles. Marr's three-set win over Melissa O'Berto of College of Idaho at #4 singles, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), provided the clinching point in a 5-4 win over the Lady Yotes.
In NWC action, Marr defeated Lauren Kearney of Pacific Lutheran in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3 in a 7-2 team victory and downed Sophia Nishimura of Pacific University in a super tie-breaker, 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 in a 6-3 Willamette win. Marr is majoring in Politics.
Mina Mizutani (So.) qualified as an ITA Scholar-Athlete for the second year in a row. She is majoring in Psychology at Willamette.
As a freshman in 2016-17, she saw action in all 15 dual matches in both singles and doubles. She played mostly at #4 singles and #2 doubles. This past year, she provided the Bearcats with depth in singles and doubles.
Note: Academic year listed for each player is for the 2017-18 season.