June 1, 2014
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech head women's tennis coach Chad Camper was named the state's Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 15-7 record that was highlighted by a program best 11-match winning streak.
Joining Camper in receiving an honor from the LSWA was sophomore Alexandra Starkova who for the second straight season picked up second team All-Louisiana accolades.
Camper had the daunting challenge of taking over a program with just one upperclassman on the roster and doing so just three weeks prior to the start of the spring season.
The Ohio native said he learned a lot after his first ever match as a head coach when the Lady Techsters lost the season opener at Florida Gulf Coast. After that came a string of 11 straight victories which included wins over in-state schools in New Orleans and McNeese State and Conference USA foes Middle Tennessee and UAB.
"There are many great coaches in this state so to receive this award is a huge honor," said Camper. "The achievement is really that of the players. They worked hard every day and really developed throughout the season. We are already excited about next year and the future of Tech tennis."
LA Tech would eventually go a perfect 5-0 against state opponents and finish with a 3-1 mark in C-USA matches to earn the No. 5 seed at the conference tournament where they reached the quarterfinals before dropping a 4-2 heartbreaker to Marshall.
According to all records gathered, this is the first ever honor for a LA Tech women's tennis coach. He shared the award with Danielle Steinberg of McNeese State on the women's side.
Also making history was Starkova who became the first ever Techster to earn All-LSWA honors in back-to-back seasons.
"Alexandra had an amazing season and her best tennis is still ahead of her," said Camper. "She is competitive and determined and I believe she will be a true leader off the court in her remaining years."
After opening up with five straight victories, she later sealed the team wins at UAB and against Connecticut, both via three-set comebacks. She ended the year with the second most clinching points on the team with four.
Starkova replicated her freshman year by playing her best tennis at the end, recording a decisive 6-4, 6-2 win in the C-USA Tournament round of 16 against UAB and then an epic win in the quarterfinals against the Thundering Herd.
She dropped the first set 6-2 and was on the ropes throughout the second set, but managed to gut it out by breaking down 5-4 and 6-5 and then overcoming a match point in the tiebreaker to win the second set and ultimately the match 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
All of the 2014 LSWA honors, including the two six-member teams, were selected by a panel of statewide sports information directors and media members.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Tennis, please follow @LATechTEN on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.
2014 LSWA WOMEN'S TENNIS TEAM
Klara Vyskocilova, Tulane (PLAYER OF THE YEAR)
Klaudia Gawlik, McNeese State
Renee Villarreal, Southeastern Louisiana
Natayla Krutova, Northwestern State
Sara Castellano, McNeese State (FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR)
Nour Abbes, Xavier
Alexandra Starkova, Louisiana Tech
Joana Vale Costa, LSU
Medy Blankvoort, ULM
Julia Kral, McNeese State
Noel Scott, LSU (NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR)
Soledad Calderon Arroyo, New Orleans