DENVER- NM State's Mauri Benitez and Grand Canyon's Emilia Occhipinti, and NM State's doubles team Chloe Gavino and Rebecca Keijzerwaard have been named the Men's and Women's Western Athletic Conference Tennis Athletes of the Week, respectively, for Feb. 19-25.
Benitez, a senior from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, finished the weekend 2-0 and left one match unfinished. He earned a win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6-3, 6-3 and UT Rio Grande Valley 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. His first match of the weekend against Troy went unfinished ending 7-6, 6-4, 2-3. As a team, NM State fell to Troy and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi but defeated UT Rio Grande Valley 4-3. Benitez has won four of his last six matches and is now 5-3 on the year.
Occhipinti, a junior from Ragusa, Italy, picked up two victories over opponents from Liberty and Sacramento State. She defeated Liberty 7-6, 6-1 and Sacramento State 6-2, 6-2. Grand Canyon lost to Liberty 6-1 but defeated Sacramento State 5-2
Gavino, a freshman from Tucson, Ariz., and Keijzerwaard, a junior from Oudenhoorn, Netherlands, won 6-2 and 6-1 over opponents from Central Oklahoma and UTSA. Gavino has now won seven straight doubles matches with three different teammates. Her last three wins have occurred while paired with Keijzerwaard.
Other male singles nominees: Grand Canyon's Lucas Grego improved to 8-0 on the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win against UC-Santa Barbara… Yehonatan Kaufman of UT Rio Grande Valley defeated DePaul 6-3, 6-1 and NM State 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Other female singles nominees: Kansas City's Michela Xibilia won her first singles match of the year against Missouri State 4-6, 7-6, 7-5… Harsha Challa of NM State clinched the match against Central Oklahoma with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory… UT Rio Grande Valley's Dominique Ibarra won her third straight match against Abilene Christian 6-2, 6-3.
Other female doubles nominees: Grand Canyon's Autum Prudhomme and Celia Morel won both matches against Liberty and Sacramento State clinching the doubles point with a 6-2 win over Sacramento State… Michela Xibilia and Yana Grechkina of Kansas City won the final set, 7-6, to earn Kansas City the doubles point in a 4-0 win over Missouri State.