April 24, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Freshmen Gabriella De Santis, Miho Kowase, Sandy Niehaus and senior Noelle Malley, members of the 36th-ranked Ohio State women’s tennis team, were honored with Big Ten awards and All-Big Ten selections at the annual B1G Tournament banquet Thursday evening in Evanston, Ill.

De Santis was named the B1G Freshman of the Year and was a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection. Kowase also earned First Team All-Big Ten accolades, while Niehaus was selected to the second team. The All-Big Ten selections mark the first career conference laurels for the freshmen, with De Santis and Kowase the first Buckeyes to earn a spot on the first team since Kirsten Flower in 2010 and Niehaus the first second team selection since Kelsey Haviland in 2011. Malley, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., was named Ohio State’s sportsmanship award winner.

De Santis is the second Buckeye in program history to earn B1G Freshman of the Year honors and the first since Kristy Dascoli in 1998. The Caracas, Venezuela, native went undefeated in conference doubles matches (9-0) and earned a team-high nine wins vs. B1G opponents in singles play, dropping just one match. The 81st-ranked singles player in the latest ITA poll, De Santis collected her first career B1G Athlete of the Week honor earlier this season and heads into the B1G Tournament on a nine-match singles winning streak. This spring, she is 13-5 at No. 1 and 1-1 on court two.

Kowase, from Tokyo, Japan, ended the spring slate on an eight-match win streak to amass a dual season singles record of 18-5, including a league record of 8-3. She is 3-1 on court one, 15-3 at No. 2 singles and 0-1 at No. 3 this spring. Alongside teammate Ferny Angeles Paz, the freshman pair collected a perfect 14-0 record in spring doubles play with a 7-0 ledger in conference outings. Kowase’s 24 wins in singles play rank eighth all-time for a Buckeye freshman.

Leading the squad with 30 overall singles wins and 20 in dual match play, Niehaus tallied a 9-2 conference singles record and picked up seven wins in B1G doubles matches. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native ranks second all-time for single-season wins by an Ohio State freshman and tied for third for a single season overall. This spring, she is 9-1 at No. 3 and 8-1 on court four, with one loss on court two and a 3-0 ledger at No. 4.

Malley is part of the 64th-ranked doubles team in the nation, as she and partner Grainne O’Neill are 8-6 this year, with all 14 matches at No. 1 singles. The Kansas City, Mo., native has played in 19 singles matches this year and is 9-10.

The third-seeded Buckeyes earned a first-round bye into the quarterfinals of the B1G Tournament and will begin their run for the B1G Tournament title vs. No. 6 seed Minnesota at 3 p.m. ET Friday. Ohio State ended the spring on a seven-match win streak to improve to 18-7 overall with an 8-3 record in conference play, marking the first season since 2006 the squad has earned eight or more wins in B1G play and the highest B1G finish since 2011.

2014 Women’s Tennis All-B1G Awards

Athlete of the Year: Emina Bektas, Michigan
Freshman of the Year: Gabriella De Santis, Ohio State
Coach of the Year: Ronni Bernstein, Michigan

Ruth Seaborne, Iowa
Brooke Bolender, Michigan
Sarah Lee, Michigan
MARINA BOHRER, Michigan State
Alicia Barnett, Northwestern
Belinda Niu, Northwestern
Miho Kowase, Ohio State
Gabriella De Santis, Ohio State
Lauren Chypyha, Wisconsin

Allison Falkin, Illinois
Sophie Garre, Indiana
Katie Klyczek, Indiana
Tereza Brichacova, Minnesota
Sandy Niehaus, Ohio State
Dasha Sapogova, Penn State

Unanimous selections in CAPS

Louise Kwong, Illinois
Kayla Fujimoto, Indiana
Aimee Tarun, Iowa
Sarah Lee, Michigan
Athena Trouillot, Michigan State
Natallia Pintusava, Minnesota
Maike Zeppernick, Nebraska
Nida Hamilton, Northwestern
Noelle Malley, Ohio State
Marie-Frederique Bedard, Penn State
Andjela Djokovic, Purdue
Anastasia Tripolskaya, Wisconsin