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April 14, 2010
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - With three freshmen in the everyday lineup, it is no surprise that the USC Upstate women's tennis team was well-represented on the A-Sun All-Freshmen Team, as Chileans Francisca Valderrama and Simona Cacciuttolo each earned the honor unanimously, the conference office in Macon, Ga., announced on Tuesday afternoon. The pair give Upstate a total of five players in the last five years that have earned A-Sun All-Freshman honors.
UNF's Aline Berkenbrock earned Player of the Year honors and Rodrigo Puebla of UNF took Coach of the Year honors. Stetson's Carolina de los Santos earned Freshman of the Year honors.
The duo made a splash in their opening season of play, as each rose as high as 112th in the national rankings, the highest rank for an Upstate player in the D-I era, and they helped lead the Spartans to a national rank as high as 73rd, once again helping the team to the first national team ranking in the D-I era.
Valderrama was a fixture in the top two slots of Upstate's lineup, finishing the season 11-6 in singles play and 9-7 in doubles play. She posted a 6-4 mark in A-Sun play in both singles and doubles. The Santiago, Chile, native started her career by winning nine of her first 10 matches and she teamed with partner Monica Pezzotti to post an 8-5 win over Stetson's duo of Valentina Galbarini and Carolina de los Santos, who were ranked 57th in the nation. Valderrama also posted an A-Sun Player of the Week honors after winning a singles and doubles match in a 4-3 win over Georgia Southern on Feb. 17.
Valderrama and Cacciuttolo join Emilia Milovanovic, who was a member of the A-Sun All-Freshmen Team in 2008, and Ana-Sofia Camberos and Cinthya Lazaro, who earned the award in 2009, to make five All-Freshmen Team members in the last three years. Upstate is tied with ETSU in that time for most All-Freshmen Team inclusions.
Upstate wraps up its third year of Division I play by posting a 12-5 record and a 6-4 mark in the A-Sun, marking the team's sixth straight winning season and conference winning season.