By ALEX SPONSELLER Rhode Island College women's tennis player and Cranston West alum Jenna Lisi was recently named the United States Tennis Association's Rhode Island College Female Tennis Player of the Year for her performance for the Anchorwomen last
By ALEX SPONSELLER Rhode Island College women’s tennis player, Cranston native and La Salle alum Jenna Lisi was recently named the United States Tennis Association’s Rhode Island College Female Tennis Player of the Year for her performance for the Anchorwomen last fall.
The Craybas Award represents a clean sweep of awards for Lisi, who led the Anchorwomen to their third consecutive Little East Conference Championship and 15-1 overall record. Lisa was also named the LEC's Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Tournament Most Valuable Player and First Team All-LEC in both singles and doubles.
As a freshman, Lisi was surprised to receive the award and have the early success that she did.
“It was such an honor. I have played the sport since I was 3 years old and I haven’t lost the passion for it. To see all that hard work over the years, it’s been a long journey, to see it pay off is a great experience. It’s surprising, but it feels good in the end,” said Lisi. “For me personally, I had known the girls on my team going into it and I had such a high level of respect for them. So to be able to play with them was an honor in itself, and to see everything that I was able to accomplish, never in a million years would I have expected that.”
Going head to head with her teammates each day helped her improve fast, according to Lisi.
“Just playing with my teammates. We’re such a deep team, when you go up and down the ladder we have such a deep lineup. At practice every day, you play against someone new, you’re playing with someone that pushes and challenges you in different ways. Playing against those people and all those different styles of tennis, it upped my game a lot,” she said.
She was 14-1 (.933) at primarily No. 1 singles and 15-1 (.938) at primarily No. 1 doubles for 21.5 points on the season.
"This has been an unusual year in college sports, with so much activity canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic," said Douglas Chapman, USTA Rhode Island's president and CEO. "But there is no question that Jenna Lisi had a remarkable year before the NCAA shut down college sports. This award is inline with our mission statement of promoting the growth and development of tennis in the state. Jenna is a most worthy recipient of this prestigious honor, named after Rhode Island's greatest player."
In past years, the Craybas Award has been presented during the Tennis Hall of Fame Championships in Newport. But with the ATP tournament now canceled, the award will be presented at a later date and place to be determined.
RIC Head Women's Tennis Coach Adam Spring's team wrapped up the 2019 season with a 15-1 record overall and was 9-0 (first place) in the Little East.
The Anchorwomen won the program's fifth straight and 11th overall Little East Regular Season Championship. RIC won the program's third straight and ninth overall tournament title. RIC was the top seed in the 2019 Little East Championship and downed No. 5-seeded Bridgewater State, 5-0, in the semifinals on Oct. 18. The Anchorwomen defeated No. 2-seeded UMass Boston, 5-0, in the finals on Oct. 21.
The Anchorwomen qualified for the NCAA Div. III Women's Tennis National Championship for the third consecutive season.
Looking toward the future, Lisi hopes to continue to improve her game and be prepared to lead RIC for the next three years.
“My goal is to stick with it, play with my coaches, my team, get some match play in, keep up the fitness level and be ready for anything,” Lisi said. “It gives me a little pressure for the future, but I’m not going to sweat it, I’m going to use it to motivate me.”