The Hope College men's and UCLA women's tennis teams have been honored as April's recipients of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award, the ITA announced today.
The ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award is a monthly award that goes to one men's and one women's team that has exemplified outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis. The winners are selected by the ITA Ethics and Infractions Committee from nominations received from all ITA member institutions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges). This monthly award began in 2003. In addition to the obvious reasons, sportsmanship and fair play are considered important in college tennis due to the fact that players make their own line calls during a match.
Hope College is a NCAA Division III school, coached by Steve Gorno and located in Holland, MI. In a critical juncture of a doubles match versus Luther College, a Luther player pursued an out ball and hit it into the net. Coach Gorno saw from a distance that the ball was out. He asked his players if their shot was in, they replied "no", and gave Luther the point. Even though Luther ended up winning the match 5-4, the move displayed by the Hope College squad was definitive of a first class program.
UCLA is a NCAA Division I school, coached by Stella Sampras-Webster and located in Los Angeles, CA. The UCLA women's squad travelled to Waco, Texas to take on Baylor. Upon arrival to the match, the courts had gotten wet due to an overnight shower. Stella and her squad helped dry the courts in the morning and were willing to help in anyway possible. The match was very intense but their players were fair and represented their university in a first class manner.
As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit presented by the USTA, and the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship. The official ITA website is www.itatennis.com.