May 13, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- Florida State’s Lauren McCreless and Jessica Sucupira will compete in their final NCAA Tournament in just one day, but will do so with an even bigger smile on their faces as both seniors earned ITA Regional awards. McCreless was named the Southeast ITA Senior of the Year and Sucupira was honored with the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
“For the senior class that’s going to be leaving us to be rewarded in earning these awards for our region speaks so much for what they have done not only this year but in their careers,” FSU head coach Jennifer Hyde said.
One of the most influential players Florida State women’s tennis has seen, McCreless has had a big hand in the Seminoles success over the past four years. As Florida State’s all-time career singles wins leader with 101 triumphs, McCreless has represented FSU on court one this season and boasts a 25-10 singles record and 22-16 doubles mark.
Throughout the season, the Ogden, Utah native has trumped 10 ranked opponents in singles, six of which were ranked in the top 50 at the time of play. McCreless has been nationally ranked in the top 46 consistently this season including her highest ranking of her career as she earned the No. 20 spot and was the first Seminole to break the top 20 in two years.
A leader both on and off the court, McCreless has empowered her teammates by setting a good example in the classroom and encouraged the team in every aspect of collegiate tennis. With McCreless’ leadership, Florida State made its third-consecutive appearance in the semifinals at the ACC Championship after shocking No. 10 Duke in the second round. Throughout her four years at FSU, McCreless was honored as the team captain and playing her best tennis of hercareer this season, she has helped FSU stay consistently ranked in the top 25 all season while holding a 14-10 record.
“Our region is probably the toughest region in the nation and there are some senior players that are unbelievably talented and have unbelievable statistics,” Coach Hyde said. “Lauren also has great statistics, but more importantly she has the leadership and sportsmanship qualities and the improvement over the span of her career which is the main reason for winning this award. Her classy behavior and leadership on this team have been true for four years straight. She is ever deserving of this award.”
Noted as the team’s most consistent player, Sucupira has been a huge reason FSU continues making history under Hyde. Since her arrival four years ago, Sucupira has made strides in every season as a ‘Nole. However, her senior year has been the most successful for the Whitehouse, Texas native.
Athletically, Sucupira leads the team this season with the best singles record so far with a 26-9 mark and holds a notable 20-15 doubles record. Throughout the season, she has been the go-to player on the team and has been heavily counted on to score a point on her court. In one of the most important performances of the season, Sucupira went 2-0 at the ACC Championships to help FSU earn its third-straight semifinal appearance. As FSU’s career doubles wins leader with 93 victories, Sucupira also holds the second spot on the FSU career singles wins list with 100 triumphs.
As for academics, being a student-athlete has not been an issue for the Seminoles as Sucupira earned not only a 3.55 grade point average for the 2009-10 season, but also boasted a 3.9 GPA for the spring semester while studying Hospitality. Since her arrival in 2006, Sucupira has been named to the Dean’s List five times in addition to earning a spot on the President’s List last season.
“Jess has played in the lower half of the lineup and flown under the radar with regards to accolades, but the bottom line is she has been the most consistent performer Florida State tennis has ever known in singles and doubles,” Coach Hyde added. “ For her to get recognized and beat out everyone in the region is so well deserved for her and it’s great for her to finish her career having this accolade.”