April 24, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. – The Big Ten announced its All-Conference selections on Thursday, and three Northwestern players were recognized for their season success by earning spots on the first team.
Seniors Belinda Niu and Veronica Corning and sophomore Alicia Barnett were selected to the twelve-person first team.
Niu joined elite company in Northwestern history, becoming just the sixth player to be named first team All-Big Ten four times. She put together a 33-9 conference record during her four seasons as a Wildcat, including posting nine-win seasons each of the past two years. Niu sits at 95 career wins entering her final postseason.
During the 2014 season, Niu amassed a 15-3 record in dual match action and went 9-1 in Big Ten play. She knocked off three ranked opponents and won six of her final seven matches in straight sets. Niu’s top win came against then-No. 23 Alexandra Cercone of Florida, helping NU to a 4-2 upset of the second-ranked Gators during the ITA National Indoor Team Championships. Niu currently sits at No. 41 in the ITA national rankings.
Playing at No. 1 during the entirety of the season, Corning matched up with the best the Big Ten had to offer. After receiving a second-team nomination last season, Corning was a unanimous selection for first team this year. She put together a dual record of 13-9 that included an 8-3 mark in conference play. Corning opened the dual season with nine straight matches against ranked opponents and has six wins against such foes to her credit. She upset ninth-ranked Emina Bektas of Michigan in a thrilling three-set match on April 5. Corning is ranked 37th entering postseason play.
Barnett earned the first All-Conference selection of her young career after an undefeated Big Ten campaign, playing primarily at the No. 3 spot. Barnett finished 10-0 with eight wins in straight sets. In her last five matches, only one opponent has won more than three games in any set. The sophomore is already 18-3 in conference matches in her career. Barnett was also extremely successful in doubles play, partnering with Corning in the first position for much of the season. The duo went 7-3 in Big Ten play and won their final three matches. The season highlight for the tandem was upsetting No. 2 Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey from Georgia Tech on March 21 by a dominant 8-2 score.
Nida Hamilton was recognized as the team’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen to receive the honor are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
Northwestern (16-6, 10-1 Big Ten) is ranked No. 16 in this week’s ITA national team rankings. The Wildcats are hosting the Big Ten tournament and are the second seed. They open play against the No. 7 seed, Indiana in quarterfinal round action at 2 p.m. on Friday.
2012-13 Women’s Tennis All-Big Ten Teams
First Team All-Big Ten
Ruth Seaborne, Iowa
EMINA BEKTAS, Michigan
Brooke Bolender, Michigan
Sarah Lee, Michigan
RONIT YUROVSKY, Michigan
MARINA BOHRER, Michigan State
Alicia Barnett, Northwestern
Veronica Corning, Northwestern
Belinda Niu, Northwestern
Miho Kowase, Ohio State
GABRIELLA DE SANTIS, Ohio State
Lauren Chypyha, Wisconsin
Second Team All-Big Ten
Allison Falkin, Illinois
Sophie Garre, Indiana
Katie Klyczek, Indiana
Tereza Brichacova, Minnesota
Sandy Niehaus, Ohio State
Dasha Sapogova, Penn State
Unanimous selections in CAPS
Athlete of the Year: Emina Bektas, Michigan
Freshman of the Year: Gabriella De Santis, Ohio State
Coach of the Year: Ronni Bernstein, Michigan
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Louise Kwong, Illinois
Kayla Fujimoto, Indiana
Aimee Tarun, Iowa
Sarah Lee, Michigan
Athena Trouillot, Michigan State
Natallia Pintusava, Minnesota
Maike Zeppernick, Nebraska
Nida Hamilton, Northwestern
Noelle Malley, Ohio State
Marie-Frederique Bedard, Penn State
Andjela Djokovic, Purdue
Anastasia Tripolskaya, Wisconsin