Lambropoulos Wins Arthur Ashe Leadership, Sportsmanship Award
May 17, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois fifth-year senior Marisa Lambropoulos received the Midwest Region Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, while assistant coach Georgia Rose was named Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced this week.
"I'm very happy for Georgia and Marisa and the recognition they received on the regional level," Illini head coach Michelle Dasso said. "There are so many talented coaches and players in the Midwest, and it is an honor for those two to be chosen."
Lambropoulos tied for third on the team this season with 17 singles wins. She and freshman Melissa Kopinski led all Illini doubles pairings with a 15-4 mark, playing primarily at the No. 1 spot, to finish with a No. 69 national ranking in doubles. The Lake Forest, Ill., native recently was named second-team All-Big Ten for the first time in her career.
"Marisa is an individual who overcame adversity with class and poise," Dasso said. "She had three unsuccessful wrist surgeries and was forced to change her normal two-handed backhand and learn to play with a one-handed backhand slice. There are very, very few collegiate athletes who, in my opinion, would have the athleticism, mental toughness and inner drive to be able to handle this. Marisa handled it very well."
Lambropoulos is the second Illini to win the award in school history, following Cynthya Goulet, who took home the honor in 2005.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, which dates back to 1982, recognizes athletes who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
Rose garnered regional Assistant Coach of the Year honors after leading Illinois to an 18-8 record, highlighted by a win over No. 9 Texas and an 11-1 run to end the regular season.