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Women's Tennis

Cardinal Collects ITA Regional Awards

Stanford coaches and student-athletes win seven of the eight honors

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford dominated Northwest Regional awards announced by the ITA on Wednesday. Cardinal coaches and student-athletes collected seven of the eight available honors, with Lele Forood winning Wilson ITA Coach of the Year and Frankie Brennan earning Assistant Coach of the Year accolades. Connie Ma won both the Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship and Cissie Leary Sportsmanship awards, Alexandra Yepifanova was named Player to Watch, Katherine Hui was picked Rookie of the Year, and Angelica Blake earned Senior Player of the Year honors.

Forood and Brennan led the Cardinal to a 25-3 overall record this season and the NCAA quarterfinals for the 39th time in 42 NCAA Tournaments. Stanford went 7-2 against top-10 opponents in the spring and made a run to the program's third consecutive Pac-12 Tournament title in Ojai, Calif. in late April. The award is Forood's second consecutive and 11th overall, while Brennan also won his second in a row and eighth all-time.

On the court, Ma just wrapped up her second career All-America campaign. She picked up a pair of ranked wins as part of a run to the round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship in Stillwater, and wrapped up her season with a 40-6 overall record, a team-best 21-2 record in duals, and a 24-5 mark against nationally-ranked opponents. She was tied with Alexandra Yepifanova for second on the team in clinchers (5) and finished the season ranked seventh nationally.

Outside of tennis, the junior human biology major has a commitment to volunteer initiatives and desire to pursue medicine. She has been involved in Cardinal Free Clinics, which is a student-led clinic partnered with Stanford Healthcare, that provides free transitional care to those that don't have a means of obtaining health insurance, or can't afford to, as well as anyone else who are impacted by barriers to access. Ma currently works as a Mandarin interpreter, where she helps to bridge the language barrier between Mandarin-speaking patients and their families and medical staff. Ma is Stanford's third consecutive regional winner of the Cissie Leary Award (Sara Choy - 2022, 2023) and the Cardinal's first regional Arthur Ashe winner since Taylor Davidson in 2017.

This season, Alexandra Yepifanova became Stanford's first back-to-back singles All-American since Michaela Gordon won three straight from 2018-20. She highlighted Stanford's participation in Oklahoma with a run to the quarterfinals, which cemented her All-America status. Her tournament kicked off with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded Kari Miller of Michigan, before continuing with a three-set win in the second round over Georgia's No. 41 Alexandra Vecic 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. She took down No. 50 Luciana Perry of Ohio State in the Round of 16 7-6, 6-1 before running into eighth-seeded and eventual national champion Alexa Noel of Miami, to whom she fell 6-2, 6-3. Yepifanova wrapped up her season at 26-8 overall in singles, including a 16-4 record against nationally-ranked opponents, and was No. 20 in the final ITA rankings. She is Stanford's first region Player to Watch since Melissa Lord in 2017. 

The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Katherine Hui played primarily at No. 5 and went 16-6 in her debut season. She was 15-4 in duals and 9-1 against Pac-12 opponents. Teaming up with Valencia Xu in doubles, the pair went 19-6 during the dual season at No. 3 and beat the only two ranked doubles teams they faced - Washington's No. 78 Melissa Sakar and Catherine Gagnon (6-2) and USC's No. 42 Parker Fry and Grace Piper (6-4). Ma was the Cardinal's most recent Northwest Region Rookie of the Year in 2022.

Blake was also voted the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year in her final season at Stanford. The graduate student played exclusively at the No. 1 spot, going 14-6 overall and 13-4 in duals. She was 7-2 against conference opponents and 10-6 against nationally-ranked foes. Melissa Lord in 2019 was Stanford's last regional Senior Player of the Year.