The Valdosta Daily Times
Sabrina Schmidt made an immediate impact on the Valdosta State tennis team, and the Gulf South Conference.
Schmidt, from Neunkirchen, Germany, lost just one match in singles play and made up one-half of the Blazers’ top doubles team as she was named the GSC Freshman of the Year on Thursday.
It was the second time in three years that a Blazer earned the honor as Michelle Fischer was recognized in 2012. Fischer was Schmidt’s partner in doubles and the duo went 10-5. Schmidt added a 13-1 mark in singles on her way to the conference honor.
Schmidt was also named to the all-conference second-team where she joined Jennifer Rink, who played No. 2 and 3 singles and No. 2 doubles.
Fischer and Laura Ubeda were first-team selections. Fischer was VSU’s No. 1 singles player and part of the top doubles team throughout the season and earned first-team honors for the third straight year. She becomes just the 20th player to accomplish that feat in conference history. Ubeda, a sophomore, went 11-3 in singles and 7-2 in doubles.
West Florida’s Monika Kochanova was named the conference’s Player of the Year for the second straight season and the Argonauts have won the past four POY awards. The last time a player won two straight was Valdosta State’s Natali Gumbrecht in 2009-10. UWF’s Derrick Racine was named Coach of the Year for the fourth straight year and for the 10th time in his career, a conference record.
The VSU men had a pair of members honored with Francisco Yim Kim and Mario Navarro Bayo named to the first team. Yim Kimwent 8-7 in No. 1 singles and 8-9 in No. 1 doubles. Navarro Bayo also played No. 1 doubles and went 10-5 in singles, most coming at No. 2.
UWF swept the individual honors with senior Bruno Savi winning Player of the Year for the third straight season, the first player to do that. Alex Peyrot was named Freshman of the Year and Racine was named top coach for the third straight year. Racine is the first coach to win three straight since VSU’s John Hansen accomplished it in 1995-97, and the award is Racine’s eighth, three shy of Hansen’s record.
The VSU men (No. 5 in the most recent NCAA South Region rankings) and women (No. 7) await the release of next week’s rankings to learn its postseason schedule.