Story Courtesy of the Kenyon Sports Information Department
Kenyon College senior Diana Aboubakare (Orange, CA/Luther) and assistant coach Alvin Cheng were among the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) NCAA Division III Regional award winners. Aboubakare was tabbed the ITA Central Region Senior Player of the Year, Cheng was selected as the tasc Performance ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in Div. III. Cheng was also tabbed as the Central Region's Assistant Coach of the Year.
Aboubakare, who will next week make her third straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Singles Championship, currently has an 18-5 record in singles play, including a 14-2 mark playing at Kenyon's No. 1 spot in dual matches.
One week ago, Aboubakare was selected to her fourth career All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) first team and was named, for the second time in her career, the NCAC Player of the Year. She not only made the 2018 All-NCAC first team for singles play, but also the first team for doubles play with freshman teammate Erika Oku. Together, Aboubakare and Oku were 25-8 this season and were selected as an alternate team for the NCAA Division III Doubles Championship.
As she heads toward her final collegiate matches on the NCAA stage, Aboubakare carries with her a career 69-35 singles record and an 82-33 doubles record. Her singles output ties her for the 12th best in program history, while her doubles mark is tied for third-best in Ladies' record book.
Since Cheng's arrival prior to the 2012 campaign, the Ladies program has steadily climbed, especially the last two seasons. Kenyon has won back-to-back North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament titles and advanced into the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Both those accomplishments had not happened since the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Furthermore, the Ladies' 21-3 mark this spring, including a program record 13-0 start, was the most wins since 1997.
In addition to the team success, Cheng has helped coach several student-athletes into serious postseason accolades. Senior Aboubakare was a four-time, All-NCAC First Team selection and two-time conference Player of the Year recipient. She, along with Erika Oku, were also honored as NCAC Newcomers of the Year in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
In all, Cheng has helped mentor 21 All-NCAC selections in singles and nine all-conference members in doubles.