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Furman's Speaks Named SoCon Player & Freshman Of The Year; Southern Garners Coach Of The Year Honors

Ansley Speaks
Ansley Speaks

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Furman's Ansley Speaks has been named the 2014 Southern Conference Women's Tennis Player of the Year, as announced by the league office on Monday.  The Simpsonville, S.C., native was also tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year, while Paladin head coach Debbie Southern took home the league's Coach of the Year honor.  Postseason balloting was conducted by the league's head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. 

Speaks went 15-5 in singles competition for the Paladins, including a 7-1 mark at No. 1 singles in conference play.  Thirteen of her 15 victories came in straight sets this spring.  Speaks, who becomes the ninth different female from Furman to earn the Player of the Year Award, is the first since Monica Arguello in 2011.  Arguello was also the last Paladin player to win the Freshman of the Year Award in 2008.

Southern, who is in her 30th year at the helm of the Paladin program, was named the Coach of the Year by her peers after guiding the Paladins to a 16-5 finish in the regular season.  Furman went 9-0 in conference play to earn the top seed in this week's Southern Conference Tournament.  Four of Southern's players earned postseason awards this season.  This marks the 14th time Southern has won the award.  

In addition to the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Awards, Speaks was named to the all-conference first team.  Furman junior Alex Moreno-Kaste and senior Katherine Oudin were also named first team all-conference in doubles play after recording a 9-6 overall record and 7-1 league mark in the top doubles position this season.

The second team all-conference selections are awarded based on position.  Paladin freshman Blair Martin was chosen to the team at flight six singles after posting a 7-1 league mark at the position in her rookie campaign.  Martin and Speaks were selected to the team at the No. 2 doubles spot.  The Paladin duo tallied a 15-3 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 mark in SoCon competition.

The Paladins placed three on the all-freshman team, as Speaks was joined by Martin and Karlee Bryde.  

The 2014 Southern Conference Championships begin Wednesday in Chattanooga, Tenn.  Furman earned the top seed with an unblemished 9-0 mark in conference play, while Samford earned the No. 2 seed with a dramatic 4-3 victory over No. 3 Chattanooga on Saturday to close the regular season.  Elon posted a 6-3 mark in SoCon play to earn the No. 4 seed where the Phoenix will take on No. 5 UNCG in Thursday's quarterfinals.  Georgia Southern earned the No. 6 seed and will face UTC.

The tournament begins with two first-round matches on Wednesday at 2 p.m.  No. 7 Appalachian State faces No. 10 Western Carolina, while No. 8 Davidson takes on No. 9 Wofford.  The Appalachian State-Western Carolina winner will advance to take on No. 2 Samford.  Top-seeded Furman will face either Davidson or Wofford on Thursday at 1 p.m..


2014 SoCon Women's Tennis Postseason Awards

First Team


Brites Moniz-Soares, Davidson

Jordan Johnston, Elon

Ansley Speaks, Furman

Stephanie N'tcha, Samford

Kayla Jones, Chattanooga

Stacia Kissell, Western Carolina



Katherine Oudin/Alex Moreno-Kaste, Furman

Stephanie N'tcha/Kristen Lewis, Samford

Kaylene Chadwell/Alexa Flynn, Chattanooga


Second Team

Singles (by position)

No. 1 – Clare Cox, Appalachian State

No. 2 – Frida Jansaker, Elon

No. 3 – Yasmeen Ebada, Samford

No. 4 – Bryn Khoury, Elon

No. 5 – Emily Mallory, Samford

No. 6 – Blair Martin, Furman


Doubles (by position)

No. 1 – Jordan Johnston/Barbora Lazarova, Elon

No. 2 – Blair Martin/Ansley Speaks, Furman

No. 3 – Kelsey Coots/Claire Mulyadi, Chattanooga



Karlee Bryde, Furman

Ansley Speaks, Furman

Blair Martin, Furman

Giulia Riepe, Georgia Southern

Yasmin Franco, UNCG

Lauren Caballero, Samford


Player of the Year

Ansley Speaks, Furman


Freshman of the Year

Ansley Speaks, Furman


Sportsmanship Award

Audrey Coventry, Wofford


Coach of the Year

Debbie Southern, Furman