Kenyon sophomore Erika Oku (Hinsdale, IL/Hinsdale Central) has been named the Player of the Year and the Denison senior duo of Emma Alsup (Nashville, TN/Harpeth Hall) and Lauren Hawley (Dayton, OH/Archbishop Alter) were named the Doubles Team of the Year to highlight the 2019 All-North Coast Athletic Conference women's tennis selections following balloting by league coaches.
Oku, who is making her second-straight appearance on the All-NCAC first team in singles, was selected as the 2019 NCAC Player of the Year. The sophomore, who was also named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year in 2018, has posted an overall singles record of 17-5, which included a 14-2 mark at the top flight during dual matches. After winning their third-straight NCAC title in late April, Oku and the Ladies will now compete in the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Tournament for the third year in a row as they are set to host a second-round match against the winner of the Hope College and Principia College match. In addition, Oku was one of 32 players chosen to participate in the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Singles Tennis Championship. She and senior teammate Maggie Sweeney (Grosse Pointe, MI/Grosse Pointe South) were also one of 16 pairings selected for the NCAA doubles championship. The singles and doubles championships will take place May 24-26, both at Stowe Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Alsup and Hawley were tabbed as the NCAC's Doubles Team of the Year for the third-consecutive season. The duo posted a 21-7 overall record, including a 16-5 mark at the top flight in dual matches. The pair is currently ranked second in both the NCAA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional rankings. They will be making the trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan on May 24-26 after being selected as one of 16 pairings for the NCAA Division III Doubles Championship.
Hawley and Ohio Wesleyan senior Lauren Corcoran (Tampa, FL/Plant) are both making their fourth-consecutive appearance on the top singles team, while Alsup and DePauw senior Megan Galle (Columbus, IN/Columbus East) elevated from the second team a season ago to the top team in 2019. Alsup was also named to the first team in 2017 and to the honorable mention squad in 2016. Kenyon freshman Daria Beshentseva (Moscow, Russia/Lyceum 1535) makes her All-NCAC debut on the first team this season.
In doubles, Denison’s Hawley and Alsup and Kenyon’s Oku and Sweeney were joined on the first team by the DePauw senior tandem of Galle and Sarah Wilder (Batesville, IN/Oldenburg Academy). Hawley is making her fourth-straight top doubles team appearance, while Alsup collects her third top doubles team certificate after earning second-team laurels in 2016. Galle, Oku and Wilder repeat as top selections from a season ago, while Sweeney made the leap to the top team after earning second-team honors in both 2017 and 2018.
Along with her debut on the top singles team, Beshentseva was named the 2019 NCAC Women's Tennis Newcomer of the Year by a vote of league coaches. The rookie has posted a 20-3 overall singles record, which included a near-perfect 16-2 mark in dual matches, playing 10 times in the top-three flights. She was also dynamic in doubles play as she and sophomore teammate Ilana Blackwood (Saint James, Barbados/Queens) recorded a 21-6 overall record, which included a 12-4 mark in the second flight in dual matches.
Finally, Kenyon head coach Scott Thielke was named the 2019 NCAC Women's Tennis Coach of the Year by vote of the league coaches for the third year in a row, and the ninth time in his career, after he guided the Ladies to their third-straight NCAC title in late April. Thielke owns an overall record of 378-175 (.684) in 26 total years with the KC women's tennis program. He now owns 11 total NCAC women's titles in two different stints as the Ladies' head coach, first winning four-straight between 1986-89, then again reeling off four titles in a row between 1998-2001.