NEW ORLEANS – After posting a 19-5 record in singles competition as a true freshman, Tulane University women’s tennis standout Mariam Kurdadze was named first-team All-Conference USA, the league announced Wednesday base on a vote of C-USA coaches.
A native of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, Kurdadze becomes the 12th Tulane women’s tennis player to earn first-team All C-USA recognition. She is also just the third Green Wave rookie to earn the distinction, joining Maria Ivanov and Jenny Kuehn in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
“We are absolutely thrilled for Mariam and all of her accomplishment this year,” Tulane head women’s tennis coach Terri Sisk said. “Bringing home first-team all-conference honors as a freshman is quite an impressive feat. This honor is a true reflection of Mariam’s diligence throughout the season. I know that in her remaining three seasons at Tulane, she will have many more honors bestowed upon her.”
Kurdadze posted a 6-1 mark in C-USA matches, won her first five singles matches and had a nine-match winning streak from Feb. 13-March 17. She lost a pair of singles contests while battling flu-like symptoms but bounced back to win her final four matches in 2009.
For the year, Kurdadze was 10-3 in No. 1 singles play while recording a 9-2 mark in No. 2 action. Her 19 wins is tied for fourth-most in C-USA this spring behind Anastasia Erofeeva (23) and Thalia Diaz-Barriga (20) of Tulsa, and Kelie Schmidtt of Marshall (21) while tying with Brooke Walker of East Carolina.
Her victory total is also the second most by a league freshman – behind Erofeeva’s 23 wins – and is the only C-USA rookie to make all of her appearances at the top of the lineup. By comparison, Erofeeva played all of her matches at No. 4 (7-1), No. 5 (13-2) and No. 6 (3-0).
Kurdadze’s 10 wins at No. 1 singles is tied for sixth most in the league (Marshall’s Schmidt, 21-4; Tulsa’s Alexandra Kichoutkin, 19-6; UTEP’s Weronica Bloczynski, 16-4; SMU’s Marta Lesniak, 13-1; East Carolina’s Jessica Cook, 10-9; Rice’s Julie Chao, 10-13) and her nine victories in No. 2 action is tied for second most in C-USA in 2009 (Marshall’s Isabell Raich, 11-12; East Carolina’s Varina Soler, 9-7).
In addition to her performance in singles action, Kurdadze went a combined 14-9 in doubles play, including a 13-6 mark when teaming with fellow rookie Lindsay Dvorak (6-4 at No. 1, 7-3 at No. 2).
2009 C-USA WOMEN’S TENNIS ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS
All-Conference USA First Team
Natalia Bubien, SMU
Julie Chao, Rice
Alexandra Kichoutkin, Tulsa
Mariam Kurdadze, Tulane
Marta Lesniak, SMU
Aleksandra Malyarschikova, SMU
Kellie Schmitt, Marshall
Marta Lesniak/Aleksandra Malyarschikova, SMU
All-Conference USA Second Team
Weronika Bloczynska, UTEP
Thalia Diaz-Barriga, Tulsa
Jenny Frisell, UCF
Rebekka Hänle, Rice
Ashley Murdock, Memphis
Jenny Frisell/Elvira Serrot, UCF
Kellie Schmitt/Karolina Soor, Marshall
All-Conference Third Team
Nicole Briceno, SMU
Anastasia Erofeeva, Tulsa
Ana Guzman, Rice
Joanna Kacprzyk, Houston
Karolina Soor, Marshall
Evelien Strijker, UAB
Pavi Francis/Natalia Bubien, SMU