May 23, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the first time in the history of the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis program, the Irish can boast a national ITA/Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership Award winner.
That honor went to 2017 graduate and captain Monica Robinson on Tuesday, announced at the ITA’s annual awards luncheon at the site of this year’s NCAA Championships. Robinson was named the winner for the Midwest Region on May 15.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership Award is given annually to men’s and women’s players across all divisions who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
Robinsonwon in 134 combined singles and doubles matches in her four years at Notre Dame, including a 73-48 record in singles. She has ranked as high as No. 10 nationally in doubles, qualifying for the 2015 NCAA Doubles Championship while being named to the All-ACC Third Team that same season. In 2017, she was honored as an All-ACC Second Team selection, as well as the ITA’s Most Improved Player for the Midwest Region. Robinson was also a Rosenthal Leadership Academy participant and held one of three captain spots in 2016-17.
Earlier this month, Robinson won two of Notre Dame’s most prestigious awards at the annual O.S.C.A.R.S. ceremony: the Francis Patrick O’Connor Award and the Byron V. Kanaley Award. The O’Connor Award is given to the student-athletes who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame as exemplified by their contributions and inspiration to their teams, while the Kanaley Award goes to the senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as students and leaders.
Since her freshman season, Robinson has steadily worked her way up the lineup until reaching the top singles and doubles spots this season, working through injuries and adversity along the way. In addition to her leadership roles within the team, she served as a Vice President of Pangborn Hall; as a Dream Team member with Madison Elementary School; was active with Fighting Irish Fight For Life and the women’s tennis teammate, Sophia; and self-published her own children’s book for her second major in Spanish.
Notre Dame has had four previous regional Arthur Ashe award winners, with the last being Kali Krisik in 2010, though Robinson is the first national women’s winner for the Irish. The Irish men’s tennis team boasted national winners in 1993 (Chuck Coleman), 1995 (Mike Sprouse), 2014 (Greg Andrews) and 2016 (Quentin Monaghan).
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.