RHODES' KINOSHITA; TRINITY'S YASSER HEADLINE SOUTHERN COLLEGIATE
ATHLETIC CONFERENCE'S 15TH ANNIVERSARY WOMEN'S
SUWANEE, Ga. - Rhodes College's Nao Kinoshita and Trinity University's Lizzie Yasser highlight an impressive list of 12 past standouts named to the SCAC's 15th Anniversary women's tennis team.
Kinoshita became the first SCAC's women's student-athlete to win an individual national title when she defeated Amy Smith of Emory 7-6, 6-0, to win the 1995 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Singles Championship. After finishing second in 1996, she earned her second individual title in 1997 with a 6-4, 6-4, victory over Skidmore's Jamie Levine. The SCAC Player-of-the-Year in 1994 and 1995 and a four-time All-American, Kinoshita teamed with Taylor Tarver to win the 1997 doubles title. She finished her career with a 74-5 singles record.
Yasser is the league's only three-time Player-of-the-Year award winner, taking the honor three consecutive years (2000-2002). Yasser, a four-time All-American, ended her career with a 72-15 all-time singles record - capped by a runner-up finish at the 2002 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Singles Championships. She lost a heart-breaker in the finals to Methodist's Elena Blanina, 7-5, 7-6 (2). She was a sophomore on Trinity's 2000 national title team.
With 14 consecutive SCAC championships, it is no surprise that Trinity players heavily populate the all-anniversary team. Six of the 12 honorees are former Tigers. Joining Yasser on the team from Trinity is Lindsey Baldwin, Laura Brady, Stephanie Desmond, Lindsay Smith and Lola Taylor.
Baldwin earned All-SCAC honors four times (1998-2001) in her career. Playing predominantly at No. 3 singles, Baldwin never lost a match in SCAC Tournament play - posting a 9-0 individual record in four years. Trinity won a national championship (2000) and finished as national runner-up (2001) her last two years in San Antonio. Brady was the league's Player-of-the-Year in 1996 and 1998 and a two-time All-American. Playing No. 1 singles, Brady posted an 11-0 record in SCAC Tournament play. She also never lost a doubles match in tournament play and was All-SCAC as both a singles and doubles player three times in her career (no All-SCAC team was named in 1997). Desmond earned Player-of-the-Year honors in 1992 and 1993 - sharing the honor with Sewanee's Cameron Tyer in 1992. Teamed with partner Pascale Muhleman, Desmond reached the NCAA doubles championship in 1993, but the pair were defeated in the title match, 6-4, 7-5. A two-time All-American, Trinity finished third in the nation both her junior and senior seasons (1993 and 1994). Smith was a four-time All-SCAC and three-time All-American selection, finishing second in the league's Player-of-the-Year voting her senior season (2003). She never lost in conference tournament singles' play (11-0) and was named to the all-tournament team in 2002 and 2003. Smith was a freshman on Trinity's national title team. Taylor, a two-time All-SCAC singles player, was the league's Player-of-the-Year and an All-American in 1999. Playing with Yasser, the TU duo advanced to the 1999 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Doubles finals before falling to Inke Noel and Lisa Powers of Skidmore.
Joining Kinoshita on the all-anniversary team from Rhodes is Stephanie Gong and Laura Hoffmeister.
Gong earned SCAC Player-of-the-Year honors in 2004 - the first Rhodes player to win the award since Kinoshita in 1995 - and finished second in 2005. An All-SCAC selection four times, she was also an all-tournament selection in 2004 and earned ITA All-American honors three times in her career (2003, 2004, 2005). Rhodes received NCAA Tournament bids all four years Gong was in Memphis and she qualified to participate in the individual competition at each of those appearances. Hoffmeister, like Gong, earned All-SCAC honors all four years at Rhodes. Partnered with Hennessey Howell, she qualified for the NCAA doubles competition as a freshman in 2002.
Liz Bondi of DePauw University is the only current player to earn All-Anniversary honors. The 2005 SCAC Player-of-the-Year and a two-time All-American, Bondi finished second at the 2005 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Singles Championships, losing to Washington & Lee's Lindsay Hagerman, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, in the title match. As a freshman, she and partner Haley Heathman advanced all the way to the 2003 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Doubles finals before falling to Mary Ellen Gordon and Jolyn Taylor of Emory. Bondi became the first non track/cross country athlete to earn SCAC Player-of-the-Year honors in two different sports when she was selected the conference's women's basketball POTY earlier this year.
Cameron Tyer of Sewanee: The University of the South was the league's Co-Player-of-the-Year in 1992 - sharing the honor with Trinity's Stephanie Desmond. That same year, she advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA individual competition as well as the doubles competition with teammate Becky Jo Doncaster. Tyer, a four-time All-American, capped her impressive career by being named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Senior Women's Player-of-the-Year in 1993. With that honor, she became the first SCAC student-athlete (man or woman) to receive a national POTY award.
Lauren Row of Southwestern University rounds out the All-Anniversary team. Row earned All-SCAC honors all four years with the Pirates, becoming one of just six players to accomplish the all-conference career sweep. She finished fifth in the POTY voting her sophomore season (2002).
The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference will be announcing 15th Anniversary teams in all 18 sports during the 2005-06 academic year. The SCAC was formed in 1991 after a reorganization of its predecessor, the College Athletic Conference (CAC). The CAC dates to 1962 with four charter members: Centre College, Southwestern @ Memphis (now Rhodes College), Sewanee-The University of the South, and Washington & Lee (Va.) University. Washington (Mo.) University joined the CAC later that same year.
The SCAC was formed to provide an association through which the member institutions may encourage organized competition in intercollegiate sports among teams representative of their respective student bodies. Members of this conference share a commitment to priority of the overall quality of academic standards and quality educational experiences.
The SCAC's 15th Anniversary teams were selected in each sport through balloting by present coaches and administrators. Athletes who participated in conference competition between the fall of 1991 through the spring of 2004 and had been named to at least two All-SCAC teams were eligible for selection.
15th Anniversary Team
|Lindsey Baldwin, Trinity||x||x||x||x|
|Liz Bondi, DePauw||x||x#|
|Laura Brady, Trinity||x||x#||x#|
|*Stephanie Desmond, Trinity||x#||x#|
|Stephanie Gong, Rhodes||x||x||x#||x|
|Laura Hoffmeister, Rhodes||x||x||x||x|
|Nao Kinoshita, Rhodes||x#||x#||x|
|Lauren Row, Southwestern||x||x||x||x|
|Lindsay Smith, Trinity||x||x||x||x|
|Lola Taylor, Trinity||x||x||x#|
|*Cameron Tyer, Sewanee||x#||x|
|Lizzie Yasser, Trinity||x||x#||x#||x#|
x First Team All-SCAC
*Desmond and Tyer were Co-Players of the Year in 1992
Due to inclement weather, championships were not contested in 1997