May 1, 2009

After going undefeated at UAAs, Higgins named MVP, Rookie of the Year

If being only a first-year and playing in one of the nation’s most stacked conferences put Kendra Higgins at a disadvantage, it didn’t show. She swept through the UAA tournament, and now she’s been named the conference MVP.Higgins played at the one spot in singles and doubles throughout UAAs, and won all three of her singles matches without dropping a set. She was equally impressive at first doubles, where she partnered with second-year Chrissy Hu for three pro-set wins, including a 9–7 victory over Emory’s Tshema Nash and Sabra Rogers. Nash was the 2008 MVP.As MVP, Higgins was also a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. No other woman had won both awards at once since Emory’s Mary Ellen Gordon in 2001.“I am honored to receive this recognition because there are so many players out there in the conference that are also deserving of it,” Higgins said. “I mean, just look at our team, anyone of us are eligible.”And for that reason, Higgins wasn’t the only Maroon honored. The South Siders received honors for Higgins at first singles, fourth-year Vindya Dayananda at fifth singles, Higgins and Hu at first doubles, and first-years Tiffany Nguyen and Carmen VacaGuzman at third doubles.Chicago got two more spots on the second team: first-year Jennifer Kung at second singles and Hu at fourth singles. Head coach Marty Perry and assistant coach Jeff White were also named Coaching Staff of the Year.Overall, Chicago finished third at UAAs last weekend, and their season isn’t over yet. Regionals start a week from today, and the team, currently ranked fifth in the nation, will learn if it qualified for NCAAs on Monday.