TEMPE, Ariz. – Elon University women’s tennis juniors Erica Braschi and Olivia Lucas both earned major Intercollegiate Tennis Association Carolina region awards for sportsmanship and leadership, the organization announced on Monday evening, May 15.
Braschi was named the winner of the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, while Lucas collected the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship. Elon is only one of two women’s tennis programs in the country this season to win both awards for its region. Air Force collected both honors for the Mountain region. Both Braschi and Lucas also earned All-CAA honors for both singles and doubles this season.
“It is an honor for Olivia and Erica to represent our region by receiving these prestigious awards,” said head coach Elizabeth Anderson. “They work tremendously hard in the classroom and have been very fortunate to have very caring professors and student-athlete academic support staff who want to see the students excel not only in the classroom, but rather in all facets of their life. Their academic prowess is equally matched with their success on the tennis court. Both Erica and Olivia are leaders on our team and have received recognition from our conference for their performances throughout their tennis career at Elon.”
Braschi earns her first-career Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award. Prior to Braschi, Barbora Lazarova was the last Elon player to receive the honor in 2015. The Dorado, Puerto Rico native had a solid campaign finishing the season with 21 total singles wins, including a 15-9 record during the spring. She also collected CAA Player of the Week honors on March 14, after earning her first-career win over a ranked opponent, defeating No. 124-ranked Celia Ruiz of East Carolina. Braschi played all of her matches at the No. 1 position during the spring season. She also joined Lucas in doubles to post a team-best 16-6 record and earned a CAA Doubles Team of the Week accolade on March 11.
“Erica has an amazingly generous spirit,” said Anderson. “She is always looking for ways to help others and to make a difference on our team, the campus and in the community.”
Lucas collected her first Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship Award and is the first Elon player to receive the award since Paige Kensrue in 2010. Lucas overcame a significant injury and surgery to post one of Elon’s best singles and doubles records in the spring.
“Olivia’s positive determination to come back from her injury and surgery has been amazing,” added Anderson. “She was relentless with her rehab with our athletic trainer Marty Baker and made an outstanding comeback long before any of us could have imagined.”
Lucas earned a spot on the all-conference team in singles for the third consecutive season. After missing most of the fall season with the inury, the Greenville, S.C. native finished the spring with a 14-6 record and a 4-1 mark against CAA players primarily and the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. She ended the regular season winning five of her last six singles matches. She also had a 16-6 doubles record with Braschi, primarily playing at the No. 2 position.
The Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. This award which dates back to 1982, goes to NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men’s and women’s players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
The Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship 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.
The national award winners for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association will be released on Tuesday, May 23. For a complete list of the regional award winners, click here.