Robinette, Singh, Hangstefer Earn SoCon Year-End Awards

SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- Chattanooga women’s tennis players Shaina Singh, Emily Hangstefer and Grace Robinette were all honored by the Southern Conference with year-end awards the league office announced Thursday, April 23.


Singh and Hangstefer, two of Chattanooga’s five freshmen, were named to the inaugural All-Freshman team. Singh, playing the majority of her matches at No. 1 singles, posted an overall record of 7-13. Hangstefer went a combined 9-12 over the top four positions for the Lady Mocs and was 5-5 in league play including a three-set win at Wofford to clinch the Lady Mocs’ win.


Sophomore Grace Robinette who has been hampered by an arm injury for most of the year, was one of two recipients of the Sportsmanship Award. She shared the honor with Davidson’s Virginia Berry.


Furman’s Laura Gioia was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year while Elon’s Elise Simonetti was awarded Freshman of the Year honors in the league’s postseason balloting done by the SoCon coaches who were not allowed to vote for their own team members.


Furman’s Debbie Southern won her seventh consecutive Southern Conference Coach of the Year Award after leading the Paladins to the regular season championship with perfect 10-0 record in league play and a 15-7 overall mark.


Gioia, ranked 19 in the latest ITA rankings, completed the regular season 17-4, including a perfect 10-0 mark at No. 1 singles for the Paladins.  She shared the Player of the Year Award with Chattanooga’s Anastasia Zhukova in 2007. In addition to garnering Player of the Year Honors, Gioia was selected first team all-conference for the fourth consecutive season.  She was joined on the first team by her teammate Monica Arguello who went 10-0 in league play.  Arguella is ranked No. 88 in the most recent ITA rankings.


Other first team all-conference members include UNC Greensboro’s Alejandra Guerra, last season’s Player of the Year.  Ranked No. 83 in the latest ITA rankings, Guerra finished the spring season 15-3 in dual matches and was 9-1 in league play.  Elon’s Anna Milian and Samford’s Taylor Morgan were also voted to the first team all-conference.  The sixth player named first team all-confernce was Davidson’s Virginia Berry.


Furman’s team of Gioia and Arguello were named to the conference’s first team for doubles.  UNC Greensboro’s doubles tandem of Alejandra Guerra and Arielle VonStrolley, along with Valerie Behr and Lucy Dougherty rounded out the first team.


Second team all-conference selections were awarded based on position.  Michele Fanney of Davidson earned the nod at No. 1 singles, while Holly Dowse of College of Charleston was chosen at No. 2.  Furman’s Jessica Preeg (No. 3) and Jennifer Betts (No. 6) also garnered second team honors.  Georgia Southern’s Melanie Rolle (No. 4) and UNCG’s Lucy Dougherty (No. 5) rounded out the second team singles selections.


Elon’s Milian and Paige Kensrue were tabbed second team at No. 1 doubles, while Jessica Diamond and Andrie Meiring were selected for No. 2 doubles.  College of Charleston’s Dowse and Caroline Newman garnered second team all-conference plaudits at No. 3 doubles.


Simonetti captured the Freshman of the Year Award as she finished conference play 8-2 in singles action, which also earned her a spot on the league’s inaugural all-freshman team.   College of Charleston’s Caroline Newman, Chattanooga’s Shaina Singh and Emily Hangstefer, Furman’s Susan Bitetti and UNC Greensboro’s Lucy Dougherty comprised the first-year team.


The Elon Phoenix play host to the 2009 Southern Conference Women’s Tennis Championships this week at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center and the Burlington Tennis Center.  Tournament action begins Thursday at 10:30 a.m.


2009 Women’s Tennis Award Winners


First Team


Monica Arguello, Furman

Virginia Berry, Davidson

Laura Gioia, Furman

Alejandra Guerra, UNC Greensboro

Anna Milian, Elon

Taylor Morgan, Samford



Laura Gioia/ Monica Arguello Furman

Alejandra Guerra/Arielle VonStrolley UNC Greensboro

Valerie Behr/Lucy Dougherty UNC Greensboro

Second Team

Singles (by position)

No. 1 Michele Fanney, Davidson

No. 2 Holly Dowse CofC

No. 3 Jessica Preeg, Furman

No. 4 Melanie Rolle, Georgia Southern

No. 5 Lucy Dougherty, UNC Greensboro

No. 6 Jennifer Betts, Furman



No. 1 - Paige Kensrue/Anna Milian Elon

No. 2 - Jessica Diamond/Andrie Meiring Samford

No. 3 - Holly Dowse/Caroline Newman - CofC


All-Freshman Team

Caroline Newman, CofC

Shaina Singh, Chattanooga

Emily Hangstefer, Chattanooga

Elisa Simonetti, Elon

Susan Bitetti, Furman

Lucy Dougherty, UNC Greensboro


Player of the Year

Laura Gioia, Furman


Freshman of the Year

Elisa Simonetti, Elon


Sportsmanship Award

Virginia Berry, Davidson; Grace Robinette, Chattanooga


Coach of the Year

Debbie Southern, Furman

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