The Southern States Athletic Conference honored four Brenau University tennis players, freshman Vladica Djurdjevic, junior Dominika Jasova, sophomore Maria Perdomo Medina and Junior Zalina Nazarova, with post season awards. All four players were recognized as SSAC 1st Team, All-Conference performers, while Djurdjevic as also named Freshman of the Year and Jasova named Newcomer of the Year.
Djurdjevic, from Jagodina, Serbia, had an overall record of 8-4 in singles matches and 11-3 in doubles matches with three significant wins against NAIA ranked players. Andre Ferreira, Brenau’s tennis coach, noted that is a great, and well deserved, honor to be named SSAC Freshman of the Year in what he said is arguably the strongest conference in the NAIA.
“Vladica is a very powerful player with several weapons and the ability to win the point from any position on the court,” Ferreira said. “She’s had to deal with a few annoying injuries throughout the season, keeping her out of the line-up in certain matches and forcing her to play through pain in others. She is a tough competitor and has a bright future ahead of her.”
Junior Dominika Jasova of Kosice, Slovakia, is currently the NAIA’s 3rd ranked player and had an overall record of 12-2. Ferreira said she is the 3rd best player in the NAIA for a reason.”I believe her biggest virtue is that she is not only a good tennis player, but a tremendous competitor. She is a smart player who understands very well her strengths and weaknesses. She finds a way to win matches, and she definitely doesn’t like to lose,” he said.
Ferreia also noted Dominika’s honor of SSAC’s Newcomer of the Year came as a result of her results and performances throughout the season. “Dominika has had a fantastic season, defeating several ranked players along the way and her only losses were against the No. 1 player in the NAIA.” he said.
Sophomore Maria Perdomo Medina, from Canary Island, Spain, is the NAIA #40 ranked player. Her overall record is 9-4 in singles and 10-4 in doubles. Coach Ferreira discussed her versatility saying Perdomo may not have an obvious weapon, she doesn’t have a big serve, forehand or backhand, but no one can deny her talent.
“Her ability to hit any shot in the game, change up the pace, spin and depth with incredible precision makes up for any lack of power,” he said. “And her touch is out of this world. Add this to her hard work and commitment over the past two seasons, and it is easy to notice Maria’s progress. She is developing into a stronger player both mentally and physically, on and off the courts.”
Junior Zalina Nazarova, from Nalchik, Russia, had a 10-2 record in singles and 10-4 in doubles. Ferreira notes her energy and passion saying Nazarova brings tremendous energy to the team. “Her intensity and passion in practices, matches, on the bus and just about anywhere is contagious. She moves extremely well on the court, very smooth and natural. She has developed confidence over the past few months, and has become a very solid player,” he said.