Half of Northwestern State’s six-player Lady Demon tennis squad earned Academic All-Southland Conference honors announced Tuesday, with junior Polina Mutel receiving Student-Athlete of the Year honors and making the 13-woman team along with senior doubles partner Polina Ivanova and sophomore Judit Castillo.
Mutel, voted as the Southland’s Player of the Year last month, posted overall records of 17-6 in singles and 17-2 in doubles. The junior from Yaroslavl, Russia, owns a 3.76 grade point average in business administration. She was 10-1 in regular-season Southland competition in the No. 1 position, and combined with Ivanova for a perfect 10-0 conference record in the regular season at No. 1 doubles.
Mutel, Ivanova and Castillo all earned All-Southland Conference honors last month after leading the Lady Demons to a close third-place finish in the regular season. They were key to NSU’s charge to the Southland Tournament championship match, where McNeese prevailed. It was the seventh time in nine years the Lady Demons reached the Southland final.
NSU finished 16-9. Only three Lady Demons teams have won more matches than the 2018 team.
“I am very proud of Polina Mutel, Polina Ivanova, and Judit Castillo for these outstanding academic awards. I am very proud of our whole team who does an outstanding job year in and year out academically,” said Lady Demons head coach Patric DuBois. “All of our student-athletes know they are here to do well academically and athletically and be productive citizens. I think the results our Lady Demons have shown on and off the court during their time here at NSU and beyond speak for themselves.
“To have three of 13 players in this selective group is a tribute to these student-athletes, our academic staff, our department, and our university as a whole,” said DuBois.
Ivanova, a Moscow, Russia native who was first-team All-Southland in doubles play teaming with Mutel in the No. 1 position, graduated cum laude May 11 with a 3.67 GPA with a double major of business administration and accounting.
Ivanova was 16-7 overall in singles play, 16-5 at No. 2, where she went 9-2 in conference regular-season competition, earning honorable mention All-Southland honors last month. She wrapped her career ranking seventh all-time in career dual match singles victories with a final 57-26 record. Ivanova also was 17-2 in doubles with Mutel this spring.
She and Mutel were among the eight players automatically qualifying for the Academic All-Southland first team by virtue of their academic performance and being chosen first-team all-conference.
Castillo, one of four second-team All-Academic selections, has a 3.94 GPA in health and exercise science. The Teruel, Spain product went 15-5 overall in singles, including a 12-4 mark at No. 5, earning second-team All-Southland singles honors last month.
McNeese and UCA also had three players chosen for the Southland All-Academic Team.