Tribe Trio Earn All-CAA Honors
Norfolk, Va. - A trio of William and Mary women's tennis players earned All-CAA honors at the league's annual awards banquet on Thursday night at the Ted Constant Center. Sophomore Maria Belaya highlighted the Tribe honorees as she garnered three all-league distinctions. Belaya was a First-Team All-CAA selection in singles, while she and fellow classmate Jeltje Loomans garnered first team honors in doubles. Junior Anik Cepeda and Belaya were second-team all-league picks in doubles.
Ranked as high as No. 109 nationally in singles this season, Belaya owns 12 singles wins on the year and currently resides in the Green and Gold's top position. She recorded five wins at the No. 1 post, including wins over fellow first-team all-league selections Ana Bara of VCU and Diana Ivanova of Old Dominion. Earlier this season, Belaya tallied an impressive come-from-behind three-set win over No. 30-ranked Aeriel Ellis of Texas during the teams dual match. Belaya marks the 10th singles player under fourth-year head coach Meredith Geiger-Walton to earn all-league honors.
Belaya and Loomans are currently the highest ranked CAA team in the Campbell's ITA National Doubles Championships, released on Tuesday, at No. 31. The pair enters the CAA Championships on a 13-match winning streak and with an overall mark of 20-5. The duo owns four wins over nationally ranked teams and has been ranked as high as No. 20 nationally this season. Belaya and Loomans are 2-0 against the CAA, including an 8-2 win over fellow first-team all-league doubles team of VCU's Ana and Alex Bara on April 11. On five occasions this season, the Tribe pair was named the CAA Doubles Team of the Week.
Cepeda earned All-CAA honors in doubles for the third straight season. After garnering a spot on the first team each of her first two years, Cepeda was a member of the second team along with Belaya this season. The pair compiled an impressive 4-1 mark, helping the College clinch the doubles point on three occasions. In total, eight Tribe doubles teams have earned All-CAA honors under Geiger-Walton.
The Tribe, which is the No. 4 seed, begins defense of its CAA title on Friday, April 20, when it faces No. 5 seed Old Dominion at 4 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Virginia 529 Colonial Athletic Association Championships. The CAA event is being held at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center in Norfolk, Va. W&M has won 21 of the 26 CAA Championships in women's tennis, including last season's league crown. The winner of the W&M/ODU matchup will face No. 1-seeded VCU or No. 8-seeded Drexel in the semifinals at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. The CAA Championship match is slated for 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 22.