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Audra Cohen Named ITA National Player of the Year
Wednesday, 06/07/2006
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Univ. of Miami (Florida) Team Page

Sophomore All-American Audra Cohen was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Women’s Player of the Year it was announced Wednesday.

Cohen is the second-straight Hurricane to earn ITA National Player of the Year honors, following former standout Megan Bradley who won the award in 2005. This marks the first time since 1990-91 that different players from the same school have been named Player of the Year in consecutive seasons.

The ITA National Player of the Year and Doubles Team of the Year awards go annually to the individuals who have had the most outstanding years, as determined by the ITA's National Ranking and Tournament Committees. The women's ITA National Player of the Year award dates back to 1982.

This year's award winners will be honored during an August 26 ceremony in New York.

The award is the latest in a long list of accolades and accomplishments for Cohen this season. The Plantation, Fla. native finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Fila national singles rankings after turning in a 34-2 record in singles. She was also ranked No. 2 in doubles, alongside senior Melissa Applebaum, after posting a 30-6 record in doubles play.

The road to ITA National Player of the Year honors was not an easy one for Cohen. After transferring to Miami from Northwestern, she sat out the fall season while recovering from back surgery. Though she opened the season unranked, Cohen was not deterred as she returned to the court reeling off a career-best 27-straight victories, which included wins over two No. 1 ranked opponents, to shoot up to No. 2 in the singles rankings. Cohen recorded a 22-2 record against ranked opponents during the season.

Cohen made an immediate impact in the Atlantic Coast Conference in her first year in the league, posting a perfect 11-0 record en route to ACC Player of the Year honors.

After suffering her first loss of the season, Cohen bounced back with four-straight victories to the help lead the Hurricanes to their first NCAA final appearance since 1985. For her stellar play in the team tournament, Cohen was named the NCAA All-Tournament team in the No. 1 singles position.

Cohen was awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Singles Championship where she reached the Round of 16.

In doubles, Cohen and Applebaum spent most of the season ranked second nationally and earned the NCAA Doubles Championship's No. 2 overall seed. They advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals and finished the season with a 24-3 overall record. At one point during the season, Applebaum and Cohen held a 15-match win streak. They posted a 17-2 mark against ranked opponents.

Cohen was also one of four players in the nation to be nominated for the 2005-06 Honda Sports Award for tennis that is administered by The Collegiate Women Sports Awards. Though she did not win the award, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. will donate $1,000 to Miami women's athletic fund.

Past ITA National Players of the Year:
1982 - Vicki Nelson, Rollins
1983 - Beth Herr, Southern California
1984 - Gretchen Rush, Trinity (Texas)
1985 - Gretchen Rush, Trinity (Texas)
1986 - Caroline Kuhlman, Southern California
1987 - Patty Fendick, Stanford
1988 - Halle Cioffi, Florida
1989 - Tami Whitlinger, Stanford
1990 - Debbie Graham, Stanford
1991 - Sandra Birch, Stanford
1992 - Lisa Raymond, Florida
1993 - Lisa Raymond, Florida
1994 - Angela Lettiere, Georgia
1995 - Keri Phebus, UCLA
1996 - Jill Craybas, Florida
1997 - Lilia Osterloh, Stanford
1998 - Vanessa Webb, Duke
1999 - Zuzana Lesenarova, San Diego
2000 - Laura Granville, Stanford
2001 - Laura Granville, Stanford
2002 - Bea Bielik, Wake Forest
2003 - Amber Liu, Stanford  
2004 - Amber Liu, Stanford
2005 - Megan Bradley, Miami (Fla.)
2006 - Audra Cohen, Miami (Fla.)

Past ITA National Doubles Teams of the Year:
2000 - Claire Curran and Amy Jensen, California
2001 - Whitney Laiho and Jessica Lehnhoff, Florida
2002 - Lauren Kalvaria and Gabriela Lastra, Stanford
2003 - Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones, California
2004 - Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette, Stanford
2005 - Alice Barnes and Erin Burdette, Stanford
2006 - Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey, Stanford