Dom Manilla:
Dom Manilla: "Old Dominion needed someone like Nika. Coaching her was truly a humbling experience."
ODU Sports

Nika Khmolovska Claims 2014 ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship

May 14, 2014
By ODU Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. – Nika Khmolovska of the Old Dominion University women’s tennis team has been named the sole recipient of the 2014 ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship for the entire Atlantic region, as announced by Intercollegiate Tennis Association officials.

“I feel fortunate to have been able to coach Nika early in my career as a head coach,” exclaimed ODU head coach Dom Manilla. “Nika is one of the most impressive people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Nika was the heart of our program during her tenure at Old Dominion University. Her strong natural ability to be a leader amongst her peers was impressive to say the least.  Nika embraced every aspect of being a member of a team. She was a leader by example with her energy, intellect, kind personality, and good spirit.”

Manilla concluded, “Nika is one of the most significant recruits in the history of Old Dominion Tennis.  She has been instrumental to the growth of the Old Dominion women’s tennis program through the first head coaching switch in 18 years, the conference realignment, and Old Dominion elevating its Athletic Department to the BCS level. Old Dominion needed someone like Nika. Coaching her was truly a humbling experience.”

The Lady Monarchs play in the Atlantic region, which is one of 10 Division I regions across the country. Winners of the regional awards are also nominated for the ITA Division I National Awards, which will be announced on May 20.

The ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship goes to a Division I women’s player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team’s performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis. It dates back to 1997 and is memory of the late and widely admired Penn women's tennis coach Cissie Leary.

Nika won four of her last five matches to finish her senior season with an impressive 9-6 record in single’s play and has been instrumental in ODU obtaining their first national ranking in three years.

Khmolovska was named to the 2014 Conference USA All-Academic Team, as the senior co-captain has been named to the Dean’s List four times, while being named to the C-USA Honor Roll twice and garnering the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award on two separate occasions. Khmolovska wrapped up her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a minor in History with a cumulative GPA of 3.94. The feisty right-hander from Ukraine will graduate this August with a Master’s of Art degree in International Studies and currently holds a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.72.

“Throughout my career as a student-athlete, my coaching and advisory staff encouraged participation in various events aiming to reach out to the community,” explained Khmolovska. “I believe it is so easy to do kind things to people around you when you are an athlete. There are thousands of kids in local schools and neighborhoods, who feel exhilarated with the possibility to play some sport even once a year. It makes me feel warm in my heart when I can be the person who brings this joy into their lives. We only need so much in our daily lives, and if we can share something with those in need, it is a very natural and loving gesture. I was lucky to be a student at Old Dominion University, where so many people share the same kind of philosophy. I met a number of people, who taught me how to be grateful for what I have in my life, and I am inclined to believe that I have shared this idea with my friends and teammates.”


Academic Awards
Deans List 2010, 2011, 2012
ITA Scholar Athlete Award 2010, 2011, 2012
Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll 2012, 2013
Conference USA All-Academic Team 2014
CAA Commissioner’s Academic Award 2011, 2012

Extracurricular Activities
Student Athlete Advisory Committee 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
French Honors Society 2014

Operation Christmas Child 2012, 2013
Special Olympics Virginia 2011, 2012, 2013,2014
Volunteer Interpreter for Norfolk Sister cities Association

National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American Athlete 2012
Old Dominion Women’s Tennis Captain 2014
Old Dominion Women’s Tennis Co-Captain 2013

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