Six Ladyjacks named 2017 ITA scholar-athletes

Six Ladyjacks named 2017 ITA scholar-athletes

From SFA Athletics

Tempe, Ariz.  - A total of six Stephen F. Austin women's tennis players - Liza AginskayaKaja LjubicDenise MaxlVanesa Pardo, Siân Payne and Darinka Tiboldi - earned recognition as Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar Athletes for the 2017 season it was announced by the agency in a press release issued Friday. Because of the Ladyjacks' cumulative effort in the classroom, SFA was also selected as an All-Academic Team for the second-straight year.

The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). In order for an individual to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status, a player must be a varsity letter winner, have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters.

Aginskaya showed no signs of a sophomore slump in 2017 as she finished the season as the squad's leader in singles wins (11) and doubles triumphs (10). As a result of her efforts, the Dneprodzerjinsk, Ukraine, product earned a spot on the All-Southland Conference Doubles First Team. 

In her first season in a Ladyjack uniform, Ljubic earned the title of Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year to go along with her two other postseason honors which included a spot on the All-Southland Conference Doubles First Team and a place on the All-Southland Conference Singles Second Team. The sophomore amassed 10 singles triumphs including a team-high seven against Southland Conference opposition. She teamed with Aginskaya to form one of the league's best doubles teams as the pair went on to post an 8-3 record while competing exclusively in the third flight. 

One of SFA's two Southland Conference All-Academic honorees in 2017, Maxl wrapped up her collegiate career this past fall by serving as the Ladyjacks' top-flight singles player. She put together a 9-13 record in singles play during her senior season while competing exclusively in the number-one flight. She posted a mark of 6-4 in Southland Conference matches and in doubles play Maxl went 8-12 and 5-4 in league play. In early May at SFA's annual Champion's Dinner, the business economics major was named SFA's 2017 Kathy McGough Academic Athlete of the Year Award winner. The award is presented annually to the student-athletes who has best achieved the balance between outstanding athletic performance and scholastic achievement.

Pardo secured a pair of singles wins for the Ladyjacks in her second season of collegiate action while Payne competed in the fourth, fifth and sixth singles flights for the Ladyjacks through her first season in purple and white. 

Tiboldi posted seven singles wins through her first season in Nacogdoches and was named the Southland Conference Player of the Week on Jan. 24 after defeating Texas A&M's Saska Gavrilovska in number three singles during SFA's road match with the Aggies. Gavrilovska was a 2015 ITA All-American as well as a 2016 All-SEC First Team choice. 

SFA once again made the cut for the Southland Conference Tournament in 2017 under the direction of second-year head coach Jon McLaughlin and battled top-seeded and eventual NCAA Tournament participant Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tough through the quarterfinal round of the postseason tournament before falling to the Islanders by a 4-2 tally.