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Women's tennis claims fourth straight MAC title

April 28, 2008

KALAMAZOO--For the fourth year in a row, the nationally ranked Western Michigan University women's tennis team went undefeated to clinch the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship. This is the eighth time WMU has won the title without dropping a conference match.

Under the direction of head coach and 2008 MAC Coach of the Year Betsy Kuhle, the Broncos have gone undefeated for four years, winning 34 straight regular-season conference matches and claiming four successive MAC titles--11 overall (1984, 1990, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005-08). The team went on to win the MAC Tournament championship and play in the NCAA Tournament in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007.

Such was not the case this year. Although the top-seeded Broncos jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the MAC Championship match in Buffalo, N.Y., they were unable to close the door on sixth-seeded Buffalo. WMU lost the title match 4-3.

The Broncos finished the year 17-8 overall. Despite a collapse during tournament play, it has been a winning year for the WMU women's tennis team. In addition to capturing its fourth consecutive MAC title, the team picked up three of the four year-end MAC specialty awards and placed three players on the all-conference team. Junior Kerstin Pahl of Kiel, Germany, was named MAC Player of the Year and First Team All-MAC. Pahl was named to the first team for the second straight year after being named Freshman of the Year in 2006. Seniors Noriko Saruta of Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, and Priyanka Parekh of Kolkata, India, both were named Second Team All-MAC. Saruta also was named co-winner of the Leann Grimes Sportsmanship Award.

Head coach Betsy Kuhle was named MAC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row and fourth time in the last five years. This is her seventh MAC Coach of the Year Award overall (1990, 1995, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008).

For more information, visit wmubroncos.com.

Media contact: Mat Kanan, (269) 387-4125, mat.kanan@wmich.edu

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