Three Falcons Earn Regional Honors For Women's Tennis
May 12, 2011
Three members of the Air Force women's tennis program received regional honors Thursday by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Senior Sarah Cassman is the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, fellow senior Christen Monreal won the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship and Nick Dargene was named Assistant Coach of the Year. All three won the award for the Mountain Region, which consists of 21 teams. Each of them will be one of 12 on the ballot for their respective national award, to be announced on Tuesday, May 24.
Cassman, from Columbus, Ga., won the Arthur Ashe award for the second consecutive season. The award is given for outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. Cassman became the first Air Force female in the Division I era (1996) to have four consecutive 20-win seasons in singles after posting a 21-19 overall record this year. She led the team in singles victories and her 88 career singles wins are the most by any AFA female in the Division I era. In addition, Cassman tied for the team lead with 25 doubles wins this season.
Monreal, from San Antonio, Texas, finished her career with 75 singles wins and played the No. 1 position each of her last two years. She is a two-time team MVP and earned all-Mountain West honors this season. The Cissie Leary award is given to a player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team's performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis.
"Two awesome awards for two amazing individuals," said Air Force head coach Kim Gidley. "Sarah and Christen are both great ambassadors for the Air Force Academy and have represented the women's tennis team with the highest standards. This is a great and well deserved honor for each of them."
Dargene, meanwhile, has helped lead the Falcons to a 42-40 record in his three seasons at the Academy. The 42 wins are the most in a three-year span since Air Force won 43 between 2001 and '04. He has also helped the program's recruiting efforts, evidenced by the number of freshmen that have made an immediate impact during his tenure.
"Nick did a great job for us on and off the court this season," said Gidley. "It is rewarding to see him get credit for all his hard work."
Air Force is one of just nine teams in the nation to receive at least three regional awards this season.