Head coach Diego Benitez named Women's SLC Coach of the Year
April 27, 2011
Arlington, Texas - Head women's tennis coach Diego Benitez was named the SLC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career after leading UTA to its second undefeated season (11-0) in the last three years by vote of the league's head coaches and sports information directors, the league office announced Wednesday in conjunction with the release of the all-conference women's tennis teams.
Benitez received honors in 2009 after an 11-0 campaign and leads the Southland with a 32-1 mark over the past three seasons. Benitez and former UTA coach Christian Wassmer, who is a four-time coach of the year winner, have a combined six coaching honors to lead the Southland.
For the second time in conference history, all four superlative awards have been swept as UT Arlington made a repeat performance from 2002 when the Mavericks first claimed each postseason honor.
Senior Daiana Negreanu earned the title of 2011 SLC Women's Tennis Player of the Year. She is the sixth UTA student-athlete and it is the most among conference teams. Negreanu finished with a 10-1 record at No. 1 singles in conference play and was selected first-team all conference, as well as at first-team No. 1 doubles along with teammate Linda Aqvist. Together, the duo went 8-1 in league play.
Aqvist, was named the SLC Freshman of the Year and was selected second-team all-conference at No. 2 singles after recording a 9-1 record. Aqvist is the first UTA student-athlete named freshman of the year since Pavla Mesterova in 2005 and also marks the sixth freshman of the year honor by UTA.
Junior transfer Natalia Mayuk was selected the newcomer of the year and was named to the first-team all-conference team at No. 4 singles with a perfect 11-0 mark in league play. She was also selected first-team all-conference at No. 3 doubles along with teammate Giada D'ortona.
Mayuk is the first UTA newcomer of the year since Negreanu received the honor in 2008. Mayuk's award is also the fourth newcomer honor by a UTA student-athlete and is the most among the league.
Joining Negreanu and Mayuk on the all-conference first-team singles is junior Maria Martinez-Romero and D'Ortona. Martinez-Romero went 11-0 at No. 3 singles and finished the season with a 20-1 overall mark while D'ortona was 9-0 at No. 6 singles in her first collegiate season. Martinez-Romero and teammate Nikola Matovicova were also named to the second-team all-conference at No. 2 doubles following a 7-0 record.
The No. 69 Mavericks head to the first round of the SLC Tournament where they will take on No. 8 seed McNeese State on Friday, April 29. Match time is set for 1 p.m. in San Antonio, Texas.