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Lopez honored as Most Improved Senior in Southeast Region

Lopez honored as Most Improved Senior in Southeast Region

TEMPE, Ariz. --- Tusculum University senior Julia Lopez has been selected by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the Division II Women's Most Improved Senior in the Southeast Region.

The award is given by the ITA regional award committee to a senior who shows the most improvement over the course of their college career. Each of the eight region winners will be eligible for the national award, which will be announced next week.

Lopez is the third Pioneer women's player to earn the award in the last five years, joining Franziska Funke (2018) and Kealee Heffner (2016).

"Julia has made huge progress every year as a Pioneer, and it is great to see her hard work show up in the impressive results that led to her getting this award," said Tusculum head coach Adam Jackson. "Each year she has gotten better, stronger, and smarter as a player. She is definitely the Most Improved Senior in our region."

The Zaragoza, Spain native finished the 2020 spring season 16th in the ITA Division II Southeast Region rankings. She compiled a 14-5 overall singles record during the 2019-20 season for the Pioneers, increasing her career mark to 46-20 in singles play.

Lopez, an All-South Atlantic Conference honorable mention selection in both singles and doubles in 2018-19, was 3-2 in singles as a freshman in 2016-17 and 7-2 in singles in 2017-18 during her sophomore season. As a junior, Lopez moved into the number-four spot in the singles lineup and went 18-9 overall for the eventual SAC champions.

This season, Lopez played at both flights one and two for the Pioneers and had a 6-3 record in dual matches and 3-0 in conference play. Lopez advanced to the round of 16 at the ITA Southeast Regional tournament and won three matches against Division I opponents at the Western Carolina Invitational in September. She also teamed with Africa Mota to earn a spot in the round of 16 at the ITA regional, finishing the year with a 9-7 record in doubles to boost her career mark to 26-16.

Tusculum, which was ranked as high as 17th in the ITA Division II Women's National Team Rankings during the season, ended the abbreviated 2019-20 campaign with a 6-3 overall record and a 2-1 record in conference competition. The Pioneers were among 12 teams that received votes outside the Top 25 in the final ITA rankings of the season.

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