Abbott Named NAC Player of the Year

Abbott Named NAC Player of the Year

Lesley University junior Maddie Abbott (Portland, Maine) has been selected as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Women's Tennis Player of the Year, while Husson University freshman Ashley Matlock (Caribou, Maine) earned Rookie of the Year honors. The Senior Scholar Athlete honors go to Mikayla Messier (Sheldon, Vt.) of Northern Vermont University-Johnson, and Husson head coach Josh Warren was voted Coach of the Year to headline the 2018 All-Conference announcement. Six players were named to the All-Conference singles team, three duos made the All-Conference doubles team, and five student-athletes were selected to the NAC Sportsmanship team.

Maddie Abbott (Portland, Maine) led Lesley's impressive debut in NAC women's tennis in 2018. The junior policital science major was perfect in singles action in conference play, earning a 4-0 record in the No. 1 position. Paired with teammate Jessica Russo, the doubles team played in the No.1 spot against Husson, dropping their only conference match of the year. Moving to the second doubles position, Abbott and Russo swept the rest of confernce play (8-3, 8-0, 8-0) and did not allow Thomas or NVU-Lyndon to win a set. Abbott was equally ruthless in singles play, not allowing a set to go to top players from Lyndon or Thomas, and earned Player of the Week honors for the week ending September 23.

Ashley Matlock (Caribou, Maine) made an immediate impact on the Eagles lineup that posted perfect records in confernce play (4-0) and overall (8-0). The first-year health sciences major teamed with all-conference player Meridith Blessard (Lincoln, Maine) to win all eight of their doubles matches, including four NAC wins. This impressive mark ties for the most doubles victories in a single season in Husson program history. Matlock is also currently tied for the best overall win percentage in Husson program history, posting a 14-2 combined doubles (8-0, 4-0 NAC) and singles (6-2, 4-0) record. Playing in the second singles position most of the season, she stepped up to play in the first position twice, and was named the NAC Rookie of the Week for the week ending September 30. Matlock was selected to both the All-Conference singles and doubles teams.

Northern Vermont-Johnson graduate student Mikayla Messier (Sheldon, Vt.) earned the prestigious Senior Scholar Athlete award by virture of impressive academic success and contribution to the tennis team. Messier distinguished herself with five semesters on the Dean's List in the in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program and is currently carrying a 3.86 GPA as a graduate student working toward a Master of Fine Arts (M.F. A) degree in Studio Arts. Messier paired with All-Conference singles player Grace Page (Bennington, Vt.) to form the No. 1 doubles team for Johnson (4-7 overall, 2-2 NAC). Messier played second singles most of the season and also stepped into the No. 1 position several times to lead the Badgers on the court. Messier is a role model on campus, participating in the SERVE program for community engagement and the Badger Alternative Break program, a chapter of the national Break Away network, that provides students opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways locally and across the globe. Last year, she particiated in a week long service project in Nicaragua for spring break.

Husson Head Coach Josh Warren led the Eagles to a perfect 8-0 season and the top seed of the NAC championship tournament this weekend. Warren joined Husson athletics in 2015 as the innagural coach of the women's tennis team and has been steadily builidng a conference powerhouse, evidenced by four of six players on the All-Conference singles team, two of three All-Conference doubles teams, including four freshmen and the NAC Rookie of the Year. In his fourth year at the helm, Warren led the team to the first No. 1 seed in program history, tying the record for most wins in a season (8-0 overall, 4-0 NAC). This marks the first undefeated regular season for Husson women's tennis, and the first for any varsity sport at Husson in more than 42 years.

Joining Abbott and Matlock on the first team singles All-Conference squad are Northern Vermont-Johnson junior Grace Page (Bennington, Vt.) and Husson teammates senior Meridith Blessard (Lincoln, Maine), Freshman Natalie Tilton (Lincoln, Maine) and Freshman Julia O'Leary (Bristol, Conn.).

Blessard and Matlock were selected to the first team doubles squad along with teammates Tilton and Hannah Malinen (Middletown, Pa.). The Lesley duo of Theresa Pereira (Hopedale, Mass.) and Sara Stanton (Manchester, Mass.) round out the doubles team selections.

The NAC Women's Tennis Sportsmanship Team is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The honorees are individuals who have positively affected the women's tennis culture and match environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity that goes beyond the tennis playing rules and etiquette. The 2018 honorees are Amber Paine (Sullivan, Maine) of Thomas, Roze Yar (Winooski, Vt.) of Northern Vermont-Lyndon, Mikayla Messier (Sheldon, Vt.) of Northern Vermont-Johson, Husson's Natalie Tilton, and Lesley's Theresa Pereira.

First Team Singles
Maddie Abbott, Junior, Lesley
Meridith Blessard, Senior, Husson
Ashley Matlock, Freshman, Husson
Natalie Tilton, Freshman, Husson
Julia O'Leary, Freshman, Husson
Grace Page, Junior, NVU-Johnson

First Team Doubles
Husson – Meridith Blessard, Senior / Ashley Matlock, Freshman
Lesley – Theresa Pereira, Senior / Sara Stanton, Junior 
Husson – Hannah Malinen, Freshman / Natalie Tilton, Freshman

Player of the Year
Maddie Abbott, Junior, Lesley

Rookie of the Year
Ashley Matlock, Freshman, Husson

Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year
Mikayla Messier, Grad, NVU-Johnson

Coach of the Year
Josh Warren, Husson 

Sportsmanship Team
Roze Yar, Junior, NVU-Lyndon
Amber Paine, Freshman, Thomas
Natalie Tilton, Freshman, Husson
Mikayla Messier, Grad, NVU-Johnson
Theresa Pereira, Senior, Lesley

The NAC women's tennnis championship tournament is Saturday, October 6.