The Journal’s pick for ‘Best Women's Team’ is the Webster tennis squad.
Women’s tennis earns ITA awards
Webster University’s women’s tennis team earned the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) 2016-17 All-Academic Team award. Eight players were also recognized as ITA scholar athletes.
The full team roster must maintain a 3.2 grade point average (GPA) for the academic year to qualify for the ITA All-Academic Team Award. The women’s tennis team maintained a 3.7 GPA for the 2016-17 year.
Head coach Martha Davis-Goldstein said she supports her student-athletes in any way she can and regularly communicates with them the importance of their studies.
“I am extremely proud of the young women who earned ITA academic honors,” Davis-Goldstein said. “This highlights how hard they work off the court. Academics are a top priority for my student-athletes.”
To be recognized as an ITA Scholar Athlete, a player needs to maintain a GPA higher than 3.5 and be enrolled in the school for at least two semesters.
With eight recipients, the women’s tennis team tied a school record. Chelsea Foster, Stephanie Lass, Brianna Pagan, Sara Rice, Jesse Steffens-Willis, Jordan Struckman, Madison Watts and Jessica Wright were the players who earned ITA Scholar Athlete awards.
This was the third season in a row Lass earned ITA Scholar Athlete honors. It was the second year for Rice, Steffens-Willis, Struckman and Watts.
Lass said it was a difficult balancing act between her studies and commitments to the tennis team.
“I think this accomplishment is a great testament to everyone’s ability to strive for excellence both on and off the court,” Lass said. “We took, both our academics and our sport, seriously and represented Webster every chance we could. I’m very proud of all of us for our hard work last season.”
Lass said she credits coach Davis-Goldstein for understanding the team’s commitment in the classroom.
“She was always flexible with us if we ever needed to focus on a project,” Lass said. “We could always make it up on our own time. Everyone on the team was on the same boat with the workload and we always supported and helped each other when we could.”
Struckman said she was proud of the hard work the team put in last season on and off the court. She also said there was always someone there to talk if they got stressed out.
“I would say the biggest challenge is balancing tennis, school and work,” Struckman said. “Most of us work a lot on top of everything else. It can be hard to get homework done after a late practice or when we have to get up early.”