May. 3, 2005
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CLEVELAND -- Mid-American Conference Champion Ball State placed four student-athletes on the 2005 all-conference Men's Tennis team, as selected by league head coaches and announced today by the league office. Tournament runner-up Western Michigan had a total of four student-athletes on the all-conference team, while Buffalo and Northern Illinois combined to claim the four remaining positions.
Western Michigan, Ball State and Northern Illinois took home the four individual awards.
Northern Illinois senior Willy Gali (Barcelona, Spain / Ies Avsias March), was named MAC Player of the Year, the first Huskie to do so. Gali finished the season in No. 1 singles with a 31-4 mark becoming only the fourth Huskie to rack up 30 wins. Gali was also the recipient of the Jack Vredevelt Sportsmanship Award. He is the third straight student-athlete from NIU to be awarded the Sportsmanship Award. Raymond van Wasbeek received the award in 2003 and Juan Pablo Barriga in 2004.
For the second straight year, a Bronco was awarded with Freshman of the Year. This year it went to Alex Birchmeier(Midland, Mich. / Dow H.S.). Birchmeier fi nished the season 23-9 in No. 5 singles. Last season's recipient was Brady Crosby.
Coach of the Year honors went to Ball State's Bill Richards, who guided the Cardinals (20-8) to both the regular
season title and tournament title. Richards has now taken home the award 13 times.
The first team all-MAC was led by four repeat selections from last year's squad. Gali of Northern Illinois has now been named to the fi rst team two years in a row. The Cardinal duo of junior Matt Baccarani and senior Matt
Laramore were also repeat fi rst team selections for Ball State. Three Western Michigan selections rounded out the first team honorees. Tommy Dennis repeats as a fi rst team selection. Brady Crosby and Jose Orozco both earned first team awards, after garnering second team selections last season.
Erick Martinez of Northern Illinois and Patrick Thompson were both tabbed for second team all-MAC honors. For Martinez this is his third consecutive year on second team and, while this is the second year for Thompson.
The four remaining second team all-league honorees are all first time selections. Tim Bradshaw of Western Michigan, Nick Zieziula and Mike Rockman of Buffalo and Paul Newman of Ball State.
2005 All-MAC Men's Tennis Team
Name School Cl. Hometown
Matt Baccarani# Ball State Jr. Toronto, Ontario
Matt Laramore# Ball State Sr. Indianapolis, Ind.
Willy Gali# Northern Illinois Sr. Barcelona, Spain
Jose Orozco^ Western Michigan Jr. Cali, Colombia
Tommy Dennis# Western Michigan Sr. Rochester, Mich.
Brady Crosby^ Western Michigan So. Livonia, Mich.
Paul Newman Ball State Sr. Pretoria, South Africa
Patrick Thompson^ Ball State Jr. Medina, Ohio
Nick Zieziula Buffalo Sr. Hamburg, N.Y.
Mike Rockman Buffalo So. Toronto, Ontario
Erick Martinez^ Northern Illinois Sr. Mexico City, Mexico
Tim Bradshaw Western Michigan So. Bromsgrove, England
Individual Award Winners
Player of the Year: Willy Gali, Northern Illinois
Freshman of the Year: Alex Birchmeier, Western Michigan
Jack Vredevelt Sportsmanship Award: Willy Gali, Northern Illinois
Coach of the Year: Bill Richards, Ball State
# 2004 first team all-MAC
^ 2004 second team all-MAC