CARY, N.C. – Despite receiving one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a collegiate tennis player, Abby Olbrich is not yet ready to close the book on her standout career at Linfield.
The two-time singles All-American and seventh-ranked player in the West was recently recognized as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Women’s West Region Senior Player of the Year, an honor doled out to just four players nationwide.
“It’s always a great honor for an athlete’s accomplishments to be recognized at the Regional level,” said head coach Amy Dames Smith. “The award speaks to Abby’s commitment and success for four solid years in athletics at Linfield.”
It's really just another feather in the cap for Olbrich, who in addition to being a two-time singles All-American, is also an All-American in doubles, a four-time all-Northwest Conference honoree and the recipient of the 2011 Linfield College Female Athlete of the Year Award. She has competed in the championship match of the Pacific Northwest ITA Regional three times, winning once, and, in 2011, led the Wildcats to just their third national tournament appearance in program history.
But for Olbrich, one more task remains: advancing to at least the second round of singles competition at the NCAA Division III Championships. Last year, in her first appearance at the national tournament, Olbrich was knocked out in the opening round of 32.
Wednesday, she learned the identity of her first-round opponent: Laura Chen of Carnegie Mellon. The No. 8 player out of the Atlantic South makes her fourth appearance in the individual singles championship, advancing to the quarterfinals twice. She is a three-time ITA Southeast Regional singles champion, and, like Olbrich, was recently recognized as the top senior player in her respective region.
The two all-stars clash Thursday morning, no earlier than 10 a.m. EDT (7 PDT) at the Cary Tennis Park. That kicks off three days of singles championship matches, which culminate in the finals the morning of Saturday, May 26.