WMU News

Women's tennis wins fifth MAC championship

May 1, 1999

MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Western Michigan University women's tennis team captured its fifth Mid-American Conference championship under head coach Betsy Kuhle with a 4-2 win over Eastern Michigan University on Saturday, May 1, at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

The conference title gives WMU an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. WMU will learn this week where it will play.

The Broncos avenged their 5-3 loss to EMU in the 1998 MAC championships with the win Saturday. Western has won conference crowns in 1999, 1997, 1995, 1990 and 1984.

WMU won two of the three doubles matches and posted wins at No. 3, 5, and 6 singles to claim the title.

Larissa Chinwah and Diana Dimitrescu fell 8-3 at No. 1 doubles. Cyra Malik and rookie Mindy Champion came through with an 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles while Hillary Schaffer and Nikki Thompson registered an 8-5 win over Aino Kalervo and Agnieszka Tokarczuk at No. 3.

Dimitrescu rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Simone Duhme at No. 2 singles. Thompson added a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 5 while Schaffer was a 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victor at No. 6. Chinwah fell 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1. Malik was defeated 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2. Kendra Becker rallied after losing the first set of her No. 4 singles bout 6-7 (3). Becker won the second set 6-1 and was tied 4-4 in the third before play was stopped.

Chinwah was named 1999 MAC Newcomer of the Year, the first Bronco to win the award since Heidi Cakans did so in 1994. Chinwah was also named to the All-MAC first team, the lone Bronco to be named to any MAC postseason teams.

Head coach Betsy Kuhle is trying to lead the Broncos to their fifth MAC Championship under her guidance. WMU last won the league title in 1997. Western reached the conference championship last season.

A three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, Kuhle has built a program that is a model of excellence among Division I programs. The Broncos achieve both on the court and in the classroom, landing top-two MAC finishes in all but three years since league play began in 1981 and scoring four national scholar-athletes since 1989. The women's tennis program has also posted a 100 percent graduation rate during Kuhle's 16-year tenure.

Media contact: Geoff Brown, 616 387-4123; geoffrey.brown@wmich.edu

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