TEMPE, Ariz. – Following the conclusion of a stellar senior season, Florida State’s Daniela Schippers was named Most Improved Player for the ITA Southeast Region, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced on Monday.
The lone senior on a team made up almost entirely of underclassmen, Schippers led the Seminoles to the team’s first win in the NCAA Championship since 2014, a 4-2 upset of No. 26 Arizona State last Friday.
On the year, Schippers has 11 singles victories, while holding an 18-3 record in doubles. Schippers’ doubles performance allowed the Noles to win 20 doubles points in 2017, including six straight to end the season and advance in the NCAA Championship.
Schippers led Florida State to six consecutive victories, including clinching a victory over No. 28 Notre Dame, that pushed the Seminoles back into postseason position. Schippers also clinched a 4-3 road win at Virginia Tech to conclude the regular season.
For her collegiate career, Schippers has 39 career singles victories and 39 doubles dual match victories, 53 singles and 44 doubles wins overall.
Last season as a junior, Schippers registered just 13 dual match decisions as she missed most of the fall and spring seasons with injury, and was able to rebound in a big way for her final season in the garnet and gold.
Schippers tallied a 14-6 overall record as a sophomore in 2014-15. Schippers also shined in the classroom that season, earning ITA Scholar-Athlete, ACC Academic Honor Roll, and All-ACC Academic Team honors.
As a freshman in 2013-14, Schippers joined the team in the spring and immediately made an impact at Florida State, winning her first singles match against UAB to clinch the team victory. Schippers was instrumental in the Seminoles’ upset over Arizona in the first round of the NCAA championships, earning a 6-4, 6-2 singles win to help spring the Florida State victory.
Off the court, Schippers is very involved in many organizations on campus. She has been involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) since her second semester on campus, the Women in Leadership Development (WILD), Team IMPACT, has participated in National Literacy Week, and has volunteered with the Kearney Center, the Special Olympics, and various nursing homes throughout Tallahassee.
Schippers is the third Seminole in three seasons to be named Most Improved Senior, following former standout Daneika Borthwick’s honor in 2015. On the men’s side, Benjamin Lock won the national ITA Most Improved Player award last season.
Head coach Jennifer Hyde:
“There is no one else on the planet who deserves this award more than Dany. To look back at the start of her college career, and to really take in how far she has come is truly amazing. She was especially instrumental in our success this season, going 16-2 on the doubles court and clinching so many huge matches for us throughout. Last season, she battled back from a broken wrist which she sustained on the first day of practice in the fall, and never really found her groove last season. But this year, Dany was lights out for us. Her work ethic and commitment to developing and improving her game never stopped. That focus, along with the huge improvements during her career, is exactly why she is totally deserving of this award. We could not be more proud of Dany.”
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In the second round matchup with host No. 11 Auburn, the Seminoles came up just short despite leading late in the match, but this season was one for the record books for such a young, promising team.
In the fall season, freshmen Nandini Das and Andrea Garcia, who would start every match on the year, got their first taste of college tennis at the Furman Classic. The team played in an ITF tournament at Hilton Head, S.C. and in the prestigious Bedford Cup competition the following week, where Schippers and the pair of Das and sophomore Ariana Rahmanparast claimed consolation doubles titles in their respective flights.
In November, Florida State hosted the first-ever Seminole All-Conference Showdown, hosting schools from five major conferences from around the country. Schippers, Garcia, and Das claimed singles titles on the weekend to give the Noles three of four possible singles flight victories to wrap the fall season.
In the spring, two more freshmen entered the fold in French international Carla Touly and Gabrielle Goldin, a walk-on from Bradenton. Goldin saw action in six matches on the season, including a clinching victory over FAMU in her first career appearance in Garnet & Gold.
A fixture at the No. 2 spot and even playing at No. 1 at times throughout the year, Das figures to provide a strong one-two punch at the top of the lineup next season, while Garcia became a key player on court five, winning eight of nine matches to close out the regular season.
After an incredible showing in doubles, all three Seminole doubles teams appeared in the final ITA rankings –Garcia/Mikulski are ranked No. 65, Schippers/Castaneda come in at No. 81, and Das/Rahmaparast are tabbed at No. 82 in the nation. 2017 marks the first season in program history that all three doubles teams finish the season in the ITA poll.
As a team, the year-end ranking of 30 in the country is the highest final ranking since the 2013 season, when the Seminoles ended the season at No. 21 nationally.
Against North Carolina, sophomore Julia Mikulski took down the No. 4 player in the nation in three sets. The win catapulted the Essen, Germany native into the ITA singles rankings, where she stayed for the rest of the regular season and into the ACC tournament, topping out at No. 103 in the country.
Coming Out Strong
The Seminoles return all but one player from this year’s NCAA tournament team and with the addition of another strong recruiting class, Coach Hyde has the Florida State program primed for future NCAA Championship success.
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