SKILLMAN, N.J.— On the heels of being named Regional Coach of the Year, Carleton College women’s tennis coach Luciano Battaglini has garnered an even higher honor as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) named him the 2011 Wilson/ITA Division III National Women’s Coach of the Year.
“I am very honored about being named regional and national coach of the year,” Battaglini said. “I would like to thank our athletic department and Carleton College for providing me with the perfect environment to develop great student-athletes.
“My name might be on the award, but a lot of people have played a part in the success of our program. I want to thank our student-athletes for believing in my mentorship and for learning how to focus on progress instead of outcomes. My assistant coach Zach Pruitt and our head men’s tennis coach Stephan Zweifel have created a great tennis partnership and camaraderie. Finally, I wanted to thank the parents of our student-athletes for supporting our team during our home and away matches.”
After guiding the young Knights to a 16-6 record in 2011, Battaglini improved his career record at the helm of the Carleton program to 46-26 in his four years. This year’s roster included two juniors, two sophomores and four rookies. Carleton is currently ranked 20th in the nation and sixth in the region by the ITA, a marked improvement for a program that was unranked even at the regional level when Battaglini took over the program in 2007.
The award comes after the ITA previously honored Battaglini as Central Region Coach of the Year in May. The Knights’ skipper also received Northern Division Coach of the Year from the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) in 2010.
Prior to coming to Carleton, the native of Brasillia, Brazil, served as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State University. He was an ITA All-American and Scholar-Athlete during his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma Christian University.
“It's wonderful to see that Luciano's hard work and strong commitment to the Knights tennis program has been recognized nationally,” said Carleton Athletic Director Gerald Young. “He is a very knowledgeable and passionate coach, and his coaching philosophy truly exemplifies what Division III athletics is all about.”
The future looks promising for the Knights as they return all four players who earned All-MIAC honors in 2011. Leading that quartet is Kathryn Schmidt (Jr./Hopkins, Minn.) who competed at her third consecutive NCAA Individual Championships and ended her season with a 9-1 singles record versus MIAC competition en route to a No. 6 ranking in the region.
Schmidt and doubles partner Erin Gudul (Jr./North Oaks, Minn./Mounds View) were the No. 4 doubles tandem in the central region and for the second consecutive year earned a spot as the region’s first doubles alternate for the national tournament. Schmidt and Gudul are both three-time All-MIAC honorees for both singles and doubles play.
The doubles duo of Bridget Doyle (Mendota Heights, Minn./Visitation) and Anne Lombardi (Fy./ Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) is ranked No. 12 in doubles in the region. Doyle is also ranked No. 11 in the central region in singles play. Both players garnered All-MIAC distinction in both singles and doubles in 2011.