June 6, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue women's tennis team closed out the season by naming its 2013-14 award winners. Four individual awards were distributed: Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Comeback Match of the Year and Team Leadership.
The title of Most Valuable Player went to Krisztina Kapitany. The sophomore won 13 singles matches, including seven in straight sets, while playing at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, and posted a combined 14-9 doubles record.
Playing with Mara Schmidt at No. 1 doubles, the tandem opened the spring campaign by winning seven of their first eight matches, was ranked as high as No. 43 and had a 10-5 record with a trio of upset victories. When head coach Laura Glitz was forced to adjust the lineup as a result of injuries at the end of March, Kapitany was paired with Natalia Davila at No. 2. They went on to win four matches, including a crucial 8-7 (9-7) upending of Michigan's 80th-ranked team of Ronit Yurovsky and Laura Ucros in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Despite not playing together for the remainder of the season, Kapitany and Schmidt continued to occupy a spot on the national rankings and were listed 58th in the final edition.
Andjela Djokovic and Claudia Escribens shared the honor of Most Improved Player. After a challenging fall in her first season of collegiate play, Djokovic turned around as a key contributor for the Boilermakers during the spring. She finished with a 15-7 record playing primarily in the No. 5 spot and led the team in wins. When Djokovic was called upon to enter the doubles lineup in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, she teamed with Schmidt at No. 1 and the pair upset the 17th-ranked duo of Emina Bektas and Brook Bolender of Michigan, 8-3.
The rookie was tabbed the Big Ten Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week (March 4) after knocking off No. 97 Maddie Lipp of Northwestern, 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic was also deemed Purdue's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
Escribens stepped up when the Boilermakers needed her. The sophomore, who had only played in one dual as a freshman, took on the No. 6 singles role on March 28 against Minnesota. From there she went on to win six-straight matches, five of which were in straight sets, all in Big Ten action. She finished with a singles record of 7-1 and won eight doubles matches with Nicole Robinson at No. 3.
Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum's three-setter over Minnesota's Jessika Mozia was the Comeback Match of the Year. Bernard-Feigenbaum dropped the first set 7-5 and appeared to be on her way to a loss, trailing 5-2 in the second. The sophomore rallied in unbelievable fashion to take the set 7-5. Meanwhile on the other courts, the battle was on as Purdue and the Gophers went back and forth with the dual match to be decided between Bernard-Feigenbaum and Mozia. Bernard-Feigenbaum dominated the decisive set and won 6-1 to clinch the 4-3 victory for the Boilermakers.
The Team Leadership Award was given to Daniela Vidal. The junior learned mid-way through the 2014 season a stress fracture in her lower back would send her to the sidelines. This left the Boilermakers without their top singles player and part of their No. 2 doubles team with half of the grinding Big Ten schedule remaining.
A strong leader doesn't go down with an injury. Even though Vidal couldn't play, she contributed in other ways at every single practice and match. She had pain, but there was no way she wasn't going to be out on the courts with her team. Vidal's ability to see what her team needed, whether she was cheering her teammates on or taking a coaching approach, made a tremendous impact.