CULLOWHEE, N.C. - For a third-consecutive year, Western Carolina had six or more women’s tennis players named Scholar-Athletes by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) as the entire seven-member squad made the list. Collectively, WCU received the organization’s All-Academic Team Award for 2017-18, earning recognition for a fifth-straight year and the ninth-time overall since 2003.

Rising seniors Savannah Taranto and Alexa Webb were recognized for a third time while WCU’s rising juniors Lauren McCall and Jordan Strickland each received the award for the second time. Upcoming sophomores Carli Deehr, Jordyn King and Caitlin Ward received their first honors. All seven of WCU’s honorees were named to the 2017-18 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll for grade point averages above a 3.0, while eligible student-athletes Taranto, Webb, McCall, and Strickland were selected to the Spring 2018 Academic All-Southern Conference team.

Additionally, Taranto (biology, 4.0), Webb (marketing, 3.93), Deehr (marketing, 4.0), McCall (4.00 special education), and Ward (3.93, interior design/art) received the prestigious SoCon Commissioner’s Medal, awarded to student-athletes with annual GPAs of 3.8 or higher.

Collectively, WCU’s women’s tennis student-athletes compiled a GPA of 3.83.

"I’m really proud of our team for their accomplishments in the classroom,” said head coach Michaela Kissell-Eddins. “To have all seven of our players receive the individual award is a true testament to how driven these young ladies are to be successful in all aspects of being a student-athlete.”

WCU was among six Southern Conference schools honored, joined by Chattanooga, Furman, Mercer, Samford, UNCG, and Wofford, with a combined 32 SoCon women’s tennis players recognized. WCU’s seven honorees were the second-most just behind Mercer’s eight.

The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All varsity letter winners should be factored into the cumulative team GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2017 and spring 2018).

In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner; 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year; and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman through senior year).

Overall, 735 teams and 4,328 student-athletes across all five divisions of college tennis were honored.

For more information on the ITA, visit

Western Carolina University's All-Time ITA Honorees:

2003: Kristin Cotton 

2004: Kristin Cotton and Rocio Perez 

2005: Kristin Cotton-Ikard, Trish HansonAshley Harris, Sara Ryckman and Susanna Sjokvist 

2006: Trish Hanson and Susanna Sjokvist 

2007: Trish Hanson and Susanna Sjokvist 

2008: Trish Hanson and Susanna Sjokvist 

2013: Shannon Bettiol, Karen Jiminez, Stacia KissellErin MaguireNicole Nielly and Sara Ruiz Pajares 

2014: Stacia KissellErin MaguireMegan McLindenNicole Nielly and Sara Ruiz Pajares 

2015: Elizabeth AnsariShannon BettiolErin MaguireMegan McLindenMontse Mesalles and Nicole Nielly 

2016: Elizabeth AnsariShannon BettiolGaby HurtStacia KissellErin MaguireMegan McLindenNicole NiellySavannah Taranto and Alexa Webb 

2017: Elizabeth AnsariLauren McCallMadison RileyJordan StricklandSavannah Taranto, and Alexa Webb

2018: Carli Deehr, Jordyn King, Lauren McCall, Jordan StricklandSavannah Taranto, Caitlin Ward and Alexa Webb

Team Recipient Years: 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18