Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

Delgado, Lawrence-Taylor, Kostin Take Home Major #A10WTEN Awards

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — VCU sophomore Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado has been named the Atlantic 10 Conference Women's Tennis Most Outstanding Performer and Massachusetts freshman Jodie Lawrence-Taylor was named the conference's Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, announced Monday following a vote by the league's 14 head coaches. In the same vote, VCU’s Paul Kostin was named Coach of the Year.

Diaz-Delgado, currently ranked No. 77 by the International Tennis Association (ITA), finished her dual season with a 19-2 singles record, most recently taking down No. 10 Anna Rogers of NC State in straight sets in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Almeria, Spain, product also defeated Virginia's Meghan Kelley (No. 22) and Flordia Atlantic's Martina Kudelova (No. 73) earlier this year. Delgado will be representing VCU and the A-10 in the upcoming NCAA Singles Championship in Orlando. She's the first individual on the women's side to earn an individual bid since VCU's Cindy Chala (2015).

A London native, Lawrence-Taylor finished her freshman spring campaign with a 16-3 record, including a 13-3 mark at No. 2 singles. The three-time A-10 Rookie of the Week also went 19-10 in doubles play, including an impressive 15-2 mark playing at No. 2 doubles with Anna Napidy, which saw separate seven and eight-match win streaks. Lawrence-Taylor advanced to the Round of 16 at the ITA Northeast Regionals earlier this year with two upset victories over seeded opponents and three wins overall on the tournament.

In his 18th year as the women’s head coach, Kostin led the Rams to their 10th conference title and their 16th NCAA Tournament bid. Since joining the A-10 in 2013, VCU has won the A-10 title six out of seven years. This year VCU finished with an 18-6 overall record and a 4-0 mark against A-10 competition. The Rams earned the A-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament but eventually fell to No. 12 NC State.

Joining Delgado and Lawrence-Taylor on the All-Conference First Team is Duquesne's Julianne Herman, Fordham's Arina Taluyenko, George Washington's Sara Grubac and Maria Siopacha, UMass' Janja Kovacevic, Richmond's Emily Dunbar and Kiana Marshall, Saint Joseph's Amanda Nava and from VCU, Marina Alcaide Bakkari and Anna Rasmussen.

The All-Conference Second team consists of Davidson’s Alexandra Abele and Gabrielle Centenari, Duquesne's Laurel Shymansky, George Mason's Brianna Gibbs and Sydney Green, George Washington's Katarina Marinkovikj, Massachusetts' Ruth Crawford, Rhode Island's Erin Chratian, Saint Louis' Cassie McKenzie, and VCU's Noumea Witmus and Kanako Yano. 

The All-Academic team, which is voted on by the league's sports information directions, included Davidson’s Abele, GW's Grubac, UMass' Kovacevic, Rhode Island's Ariel Haber, and from VCU, Diaz-Delgado and Sofia Sualehe.

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