Steve Johnson is the first player to win the NCAA team and singles titles in the same year since 2004.
© Paul Ballard, zootennis.com
SKILLMAN, N.J. -- Cal's Jana Juricova and Steve Johnson of USC have been named the 2011 Campbell/ITA National College Players of the Year, the ITA announced. Additionally, Stanford's Hilary Barte and Mallory Burdette were named the Campbell/ITA National Women's Doubles Team of the Year, while John-Patrick Smith and Boris Conkic of Tennessee were honored on the men's side.
The Campbell/ITA National College Player of the Year awards are given to one male and one female singles player who has had the most outstanding year in college tennis. The collegiate players will once again be recognized at the 2011 International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 9 in Newport, R.I., during the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, July 4-10.
In addition to the Campbell/ITA College Player of the Year awards, the Campbell Soup Company also serves as the title sponsor for the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings.
"Campbell Soup Company is once again pleased to play a vital role in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association," said Jerry S. Buckley, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Campbell Soup Company. "College tennis players represent the best of college athletics and help promote tennis to young people across the country. Campbell has long been committed to encouraging young people to lead a healthy lifestyle, including getting an appropriate amount of exercise."
For the past two years, Jana Juricova, from the University of California, has been one of college tennis' premier women's players. Juricova began and ended the year No. 1 in the Campbell/ITA National College Tennis Rankings, thanks in part to advancing to five consecutive national singles championships, capturing NCAA and USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor singles titles. This three-time ITA All-American junior went 36-4 in singles and 41-7 in doubles with Mari Andersson. The duo won the 2009 NCAA Doubles Championship together, while advancing to the Round of 16 this season.
Steve Johnson is well on his way to becoming one of the most decorated American college varsity players. Holding down the top spot in the Campbell/ITA National College Tennis Rankings throughout the entire 2010-11 season, Steve made it to the finals of the two biggest National Championships on the season, capturing the NCAA Singles title after finishing the season on a 35-match win-streak and finishing Runner-Up to Tennessee's Rhyne Williams (who was a finalist in the NCAA title match) in the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Singles Championship. Johnson also won the fall's ITA All-American Championships Singles Consolation title. In addition to being named the Campbell/ITA National Player of the Year, Johnson's other accolades this year included NCAA Team Championship's Most Outstanding Player and 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year (conference singles and doubles champion). Individual awards aside, Johnson has also been a member of the three-time National NCAA Champion USC Trojans, becoming the first USC player ever to win both the NCAA team and singles titles in the same year (since the dual-match format was used to determine national team champions in 1977).
Stanford has now produced the last two NCAA champion doubles teams while recently capturing Stanford's 14th overall collegiate doubles title in school history, and seventh since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1982. Hilary Barte, a four-time ITA All-American in both singles and doubles, concludes her star-studded college career with back-to-back doubles titles, while Mallory Burdette collects her first career trophy to join older sisters, Lindsay (2010 champion) and Erin (2005 champion) as national champions. Ranked third nationally and seeded fourth in the postseason draw, Barte and Burdette were simply dominant down the stretch, having won 15 consecutive matches since their last loss almost two months ago to close out the season with a 30-6 overall record.
Tennessee seniors, John-Patrick Smith and Boric Conkic had played just five matches together before teaming up for the spring season and going 22-2 at the top of the Vols' lineup. However, those five matches earned the duo the 2009 ITA All-American doubles title. Smith, the second ever four-time singles and doubles ITA All-American (along with Rick Leach of USC), recently became Tennessee's all-time career doubles leader with 146 wins, having also been a part of the 2009 Campbell/ITA National Doubles Team of the Year with Davey Sandgren.