Lady Laker duo named All-America

From staff reports

The Clayton College & State University women's tennis duo of Jackeline Nieto and Nathalia Collantes have been named NCAA Division II All-Americas once again by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Nieto was named an All-America in singles for the third straight time, Clayton State's first three-time All-America honoree. She received the accolade by being ranked 16th in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in 2004. The doubles duo of Collantes and Nieto also received All-America honors for the second straight season after being ranked sixth in the nation.

"This is a wonderful honor for both Jacky and Nathalia," said head coach Elizabeth Nieto. "They have been integral in developing our tennis program into a national contender. They along with fellow senior Natalia Koulechova will be difficult to replace."

Nieto and Collantes, the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players on Clayton State's 12th ranked team, were also named to the All-Conference team in singles and doubles for the third straight season in 2004.

A senior from Caracas, Venezuela, Nieto has played as Clayton State's top seed all four years, and her 57-42 record at No. 1 ranks eighth all-time on the Laker career singles list. Her top victory this year came against Barry University's Natasha Loebnitz, defeating the nation's 11th- ranked player 1-6, 6-4 and 6-1.

Collantes, the nation's 30th ranked player and the second-seeded player for Clayton State, finished the 2004 season with a 12-1 record in singles play and compiled a 28-1 mark in dual match play over the last two seasons. A senior from Bucaramanga, Colombia, Collantes finished her career at Clayton State with the all-time best singles record at 75-17.

In doubles, Nieto and Collantes finished the season with a 12-2 record and sported a 25-4 mark over the last two seasons. The team's top victory this season came against Rollins University's fourth-ranked doubles team in Vanessa Caddick and Tricia Gehret 8-5. Nieto and Collantes have a 77-21 overall record, Clayton State's all-time best record in doubles play.

Clayton State finished the 2004 regular season fourth in the Peach Belt Conference and fourth in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region. The team lost 5-1 in NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals to eighth-ranked GC&SU.

The season-ending loss closed out the career for the Clayton State trio of Collantes, Nieto and Koulechova (Moscow, Russia), who finished as Clayton State's second all-time winner in singles with a 77-36 mark. The trio led the Laker tennis program to top-20 national rankings the last four years and played in three NCAA Tournaments. They also led the program to a Peach Belt Championship and had one runner-up finish in the league.