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Women's tennis team claims MAC title

April 24, 2005

YPSILANTI, Mich.--The Western Michigan University women's tennis team (18-5 overall, 9-0 MAC) clinched sole ownership of the 2004-05 Mid-American Conference Championship with a 6-1 victory at Eastern Michigan University Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale. The Broncos entered the weekend ranked 55th nationally.

WMU, which had already earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and at least a share of the league title, concluded the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record.

The conference title is the first for the program since 2001--the final of three straight MAC championships--and eighth under head coach Betsy Kuhle. The Broncos have never finished lower than third in the league during Kuhle's 23-year tenure.

Kuhle was named MAC Coach of the Year for a league-record fifth time. Junior Rattiya Hiranrat of Samutprakarn, Thailand, earned All-MAC First Team honors, and junior Malena Remynse of Portage, Mich., was named to the all-conference second team.

The MAC Tournament is April 28 through May 1 at Ball State University and the tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

The title-clinching victory against Eastern Michigan allowed the Broncos a measure of revenge against the program that ended WMU's 2003-04 season in the MAC Championships.

WMU opened the match by posting a pair of 8-2 victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to claim the valuable point. The Broncos then recorded five straight-set singles decisions to cruise to the 6-1 victory. Only two MAC opponents all season--Marshall and Miami--were able to take more than one point from the Broncos.

Newcomer Noriko Saruta, a freshman from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, wrapped up her first season in the MAC undefeated in both singles and doubles competition. She had 62 wins overall for the season, breaking the previous school record of 60 set by Frederika Girsang is 2002-03.

Media contact: Scott Kuykendall, 269 387-4138, scott.kuykendall@wmich.edu

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