NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State tennis team's tradition of academic excellence has been acknowledged by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for the third straight year.

NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State tennis team's tradition of academic excellence has been acknowledged by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for the third straight year.

After recording a cumulative grade-point average of 3.669, the Lady Demons again have been named an ITA All-Academic Team, extending a run that began in 2013. To qualify for the ITA's list, a program must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2.

The Lady Demons, one of 117 Division I programs nationwide to receive the honor, posted team GPAs of 3.63 in Fall 2014 and 3.701 in Spring 2015, both the highest marks in the NSU athletic department.

Northwestern State is one of three Southland Conference schools (Lamar, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and one of three Louisiana schools (UL Lafayette, ULM) on the list.

Four Lady Demons collected ITA Scholar-Athlete Awards, which are given to student-athletes who posted a 3.5 or better GPA during the 2014-15 academic year.

Receiving ITA individual honors were seniors Tatiana Larina and Amy Williams, junior Natalya Krutova and sophomore Aliona Ladutska. It was the third straight awards for Krutova, Larina and Williams.

"It is a great accomplishment for our team," said coach Olga Bazhanova, whose first year coaching the program ended with an NCAA Tournament berth. "I am very proud of these girls and their work ethic. Every day, they work very hard on the tennis court as well as in the classroom.

"College tennis teams have one of the highest academic performances in the country. The hard work of our players pays off by receiving ITA academic awards. Our lone (2016) senior, Natalya Krutova, sets a great example for her younger teammates."

Northwestern State won the Southland Conference Tournament championship in April, earning its third NCAA Tournament berth in the past six seasons.