Women’s tennis receives three regional honors from ITA


AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn women's tennis has received three regional awards from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the organization announced on Wednesday. Auburn interim head coach Lester Cook was named the ITA Southern Region Coach of the Year, senior Ariana Arseneault was tabbed as the region's Senior Player of the Year and sophomore DJ Bennett earned the region's Player to Watch honor.
Auburn now claims 13 regional player honors and 10 regional coaching honors from the ITA in program history.
Lester Cook took the reigns as the Auburn interim head coach in January and led the Tigers to an overall record of 17-11 and an SEC record of 9-4, which was tied for the fourth-best mark in the conference. The season featured wins over No. 4 Georgia, No. 8 Florida, No. 15 Duke and a trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Auburn's win over Georgia marked just the 10th in the series history and the first time the Tigers had defeated a top-4 team since defeating the then-No. 4 Bulldogs in 2017.
This season, Cook's team reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament and included three singles players and three doubles teams ranked in the final ITA individual rankings released on May 29.
Auburn senior Ariana Arseneault recorded a 17-13 overall singles record and a 17-12 doubles record this season for the Tigers one year after being named an ITA Singles All-American in 2023. Arseneault received first-team All-SEC honors for the second time in her career after the season.
Playing at No. 2 and No. 3 in the Auburn singles lineup, Arseneault went 13-8 in dual matches and 7-3 in SEC matches. She defeated four ranked singles opponents including No. 4 Sarah Hamner and No. 17 Elza Tomase during the fall. With the score tied at three against No. 27 Vanderbilt, Arseneault won a close match over Anessa Lee to clinch the team win at home.
The Richmond Hill, Canada native remained exclusively at the top of the Tigers' doubles lineup for the third consecutive season in 2024. Arseneault posted a 14-5 dual match record personally, and she and partner DJ Bennett recorded a 13-4 record and a 7-1 record against conference opponents. The duo defeated five ranked opponents, reached the second round of the NCAA Doubles Championship and achieved a final ITA doubles ranking of 11th.
The Southern Region Senior Player of the Year award has now been given to an Auburn player in each of the last two seasons after Carolyn Ansari received the award in 2023.
After earning SEC All-Freshman team honors in 2023, Bennett posted a team-best 29 singles victories and 28 doubles victories in 2024 to pick up second-team All-SEC honors this season.
Playing mostly at No. 3 in the Auburn singles lineup before being moved up to No. 2 later in the season, Bennett had a 19-6 dual singles record and a 11-2 mark against SEC opponents. She has picked up nine singles victories against ranked opponents and at one point in the season, won nine consecutive singles matches. Bennett reached her career-high ITA singles ranking of 34th during the fall and was 62nd on the final rankings announced on May 29.
Bennett also defeated No. 74 Ellie Coleman of Duke 6-2, 7-5 at ITA Kickoff Weekend to punch Auburn's ticket to the 2024 ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
During the season, Bennett moved up to the No. 1 spot in the doubles lineup alongside Ariana Arseneault after playing No. 3 last season. In addition to receiving a bid in the NCAA Doubles Championship with Arseneault, Bennett also earned a spot in the NCAA Singles Championship this season.
The ITA Southern Region includes all Division I schools in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

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