May 13, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Frances Altick, Marie Casares and Lauren Miraof the 10th-ranked Vanderbilt women's tennis team all received ITA regional honors, as was announced by the organizations Executive Director Tuesday morning.
Vanderbilt participates in the the ITA's Ohio Valley region, which is one of 10 Division I regions nationwide.
The winners of the regional awards are automatically nominated for the ITA Divison I National Awards, which will be announced on Tuesday, May 20.
Casares earns the honor of receiving the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship which according to the ITA goes to a Division I women's player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team's performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis. It dates back to 1997 and is memory of the late and widely admired Penn women's tennis coach Cissie Leary.
A junior from Quito, Ecuador, Casares has been a huge part of the Vandy women's resurgence this season. In 2014 she set the single season singles wins mark with 32 and also set the single season combined wins mark with 60. Her success on the court led the Commodores to a second place finish in the SEC and a No. 9 national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Over this past weekend, Casares and the Commodores earned their first trip to the NCAA round of 16 since 2011 with wins over Murray State and 19th-ranked Georgia Tech.
Altick receives the ITA Ohio Valley Player to Watch honor which goes to a player who is ranked in the top 50 and is a contender to win of the many ITA or NCAA tournaments.
She has posted a record of 30-7 in her second second with the Commodores, picking up wins at positions one, two , three and four. Altick has a team-best 6-2 record against ranked opponents. In doubles she is one of five Commodores with at least 20 wins, posting a record of 21-11.
Altick was undefeated against ranked opponents in SEC regular season play and earned First Team All-conference honors. The Monroe, La. native will participate in next weeks NCAA Singles Championship in Athens, Ga.
In her final season with the Commodores, Mira receives her second-consecutive regional award. Last season, the Baton Rouge native was named Ohio Valley Player to Watch, this year she follows that up with the Ohio Valley Senior of the Year.
Despite her slow start Mira was a huge part of the Commodores' 11-2 conference record. The senior went 5-2 in SEC singles play and was 4-1 in conference doubles action at the No. 1 position.
Over the weekend Mira set up the clinch in singles and knocked off the No. 6 doubles team in the country, leading Vandy past Georgia Tech into the Sweet 16.
The Commodores will open round of 16 play on Thursday at 3 p.m., local time, against SEC foe Florida. The winner of that match will advance to play either Georgia or Southern California.
Following the team tournament, Altick, Mira and Courtney Colton will remain in Athens for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship.