EAST LANSING, Mich. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the women's Division I regional award winners on Monday, May 15th, and two Spartans garnered accolades in the Midwest Region. Junior Aslina Chua was named the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award winner, while Tyler Faulkner received the region's Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
"I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award than Coach Tyler," said head coach Kim Bruno. "He is an incredible tennis coach, but more importantly a great mentor for the young women on our team. He has been loyal to this program for a long time and finally his hard work has paid off. I truly enjoy every day we get to work together and I look forward many more successful seasons with Coach Tyler.
"Aslina has overcome and grown so much in just one year that I am constantly impressed with her dedication and work ethic not only on the tennis court but in her life," said Bruno. "She is the kindest person you will ever meet and has a lust for life that is infectious. It's hard to find a better human being than Aslina. Both of these awards are not only accomplishments for Tyler and Aslina but for our tennis program as a whole."
The Cissie Leary Award candidates are evaluated on sportsmanship and character, in particular the ability to overcome obstacles and adversity. In addition, player's performance on the court during the season as well as over their collegiate careers was factored in, as well as scholastic achievements and extracurricular honors.
"As much as it is an honor to win the Cissy Leary award, I credit my team who is my family and my coaches, who have shown me nothing but understanding and encouragement," said Chua. "They help me be my best version of myself."
Faulkner earns Assistant Coach of the Year after Michigan State went 17-8 overall and 7-4 in Big Ten play, and its fourth-place finish in the conference was its best since 1988. The seven Big Ten wins are the most since 1991 when the team went 7-6.
"The recognition is an honor and one that really belongs to the whole team," said Faulkner. "What we achieved this season has been years in the making. I'm proud of the work they did to get us here and am grateful for the expression of support this award represents, especially from coach Bruno. She has only been here for a year and we have already developed a great partnership."
The national award winners will be released on Tuesday, May 23rd.