2016 All-Academic Teams & Scholar Athletes - Division I Women
The Liberty University women's tennis program continued its success in the classroom during the 2015-16 academic year. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) recently released its All-Academic team, and Liberty was named to the listing for a fourth straight year.
The listing is made up of programs with a cumulative 3.20 or higher grade point average (GPA).
The Liberty women's tennis program currently has the highest cumulative GPA among Liberty's 20 NCAA Division I programs. The Lady Flames boast a cumulative 3.66 GPA and had a 3.46 team GPA during the 2015-16 academic year.
Additionally, Belen Rivera, Emily Groeneveld, Lauren Mabe, Maria Khval, Evangeline Crist and Mariely Hassey were each named to the 2016 ITA Scholar-Athlete team.
To be eligible for the ITA individual listing, a student-athlete must be a varsity letterwinner, have a GPA of 3.50 or higher for the current academic year and have been enrolled at the institution for two semesters. "I am very proud of the fact that our team continuously values the importance of excelling in the classroom. Their dedication, passion and goal-setting skills never cease to amaze me," stated head coach Jeff Maren.
Rivera, Mabe and Hassey are all making their third appearance on the ITA Scholar-Athlete team, while Groeneveld and Crist are both making their second appearance.
Rivera, who graduated magna cum laude in May with a Bachelor of Science in business administration: finance, had a successful three-year playing career at Liberty. Rivera ranks third all-time in Liberty history with 64 singles wins. She also ranks eighth in program history for best winning percentage (.627) for players with 20 or more victories (64-38 record). Finally, she recorded 24 wins during the 2015-16 season, tied for fourth in a single season in program history. Rivera earned a spot on the Big South All-Conference singles team to close out her career, capturing a spot on the second team.
Mabe, a sport management major, posted seven singles wins and two doubles wins as a junior, while Hassey, a human resource management major, posted 14 singles wins and three doubles wins in her junior campaign. Hassey currently ranks 10th in program history with 49 singles wins.
Groeneveld, a public relations major, won 11 singles matches and nine doubles matches as a junior. She ranks seventh in Lady Flames history in best winning percentage (.653) among players with 30 or more victories with a 32-17 career record.
Khval, a sport management major, received first team recognition on the 2016 Big South All-Conference team for a second straight season. Khval also secured a spot on the second team doubles squad with partner Anna Dollar. She has won 25 doubles matches in each of the past two seasons, ranking sixth in program history for most doubles wins in a season.
As a sophomore, Crist, a marketing major who was also named to the Big South All-Academic team, posted a 25-10 record in singles and 28-9 record in doubles. She was also named to the 2016 Big South All-Conference first team in both singles and doubles. Crist's 25 singles wins ranks second in program history for most singles wins in a season, and her 28 doubles wins this past season are the most in program history. Crist and doubles partner Valerie Thong also own the program record for most doubles wins in a season (26), set this past season. As a freshman, Crist won 25 singles matches and 27 doubles matches.
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