MAC Women?s Tennis Awards Announced

Updated 4/24/2008

Buffalo, N.Y. -- The Mid-American Conference recognized its best performers with the announcement of the all-conference team and specialty award winners at tonight’s banquet at the 2008 MAC Women’s Tennis Championship Tournament banquet hosted by The University at Buffalo.

League champion Western Michigan led the way in post season honors as Western Michigan head coach Betsy Kuhle was honored as the MAC Coach of the Year and three Bronco student-athletes were named All-MAC. In addition, the Broncos’ Kerstin Pahl was tabbed Player of the Year and Noriko Saruta shared the Leann Grimes Davidge Sportsmanship Award.

Kuhle won the award for a league record seventh time for leading the Broncos to an unblemished 8-0 league record. Kuhle previously was tabbed with the honor in 1985, 1990, 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2007. Kuhle and Beck Ruecker (1982) are WMU coaches to win the award.

Western Michigan’s Kerstin Pahl, a senior from Keil Germany, garnered Player of the Year accolades for compiling an 8-0 record in league competition at No. 1 singles, and a 5-3 mark in No. 1 doubles.

Two student-athletes, Diana Popescu from Buffalo, and Anastasia Dracheva from Miami, tied in the voting for Freshman of the Year. Popescu, a native of Alexandria, Romania, posted a 6-3 MAC record at No. 3 singles and fashioned a similar 6-2 mark at No. 1 doubles. Dracheva, from Moscow, Russia, compiled a 4-3 slate at No. 1 singles and a 5-2 record at No. 1 doubles in conference play.

The Leann Grimes Davidge Sportsmanship Award was shared by three student-athletes. Voted on by the student-athletes, the award is presented to the player who has displayed outstanding sportsmanship in MAC competition. The 2008 honorees are Tanyaradzwa Gombera of Akron, Kelly Douple from Miami, and Noriko Saruta of Western Michigan

The all-MAC team was led by five repeat selections from last year’s squad. Two first team selections from last year’s post season squad include Kerstin Pahl of Western Michigan and Vanessa Frankowski of Eastern Michigan. The duo was joined by 2008 first-team honorees Anastasia Dracheva from Miami, Andreea Novaceanu of Buffalo, Brintney Larson from Miami, and Kelsey Jakupcin from Bowling Green. Novaceanu was honored for the fourth time in her career. She was also a first-team selection in 2005 and 2006, and a second-team selection in 2007.

Denise Harijanto of Buffalo, Martina Wodzinski of Toledo and Priyanka Parekh of Western Michigan are repeat second team selections from 2007. Christine Chiricosta of Bowling Green, Noriko Saruta from Western Michigan, and Tanyaradzwa Gombera of Akron complete the second team.

The 2008 MAC Women’s Tennis Championship, which began with first round matches today, will conclude Sunday at 1 p.m. Western Michigan is the defending tournament champion.

2008 All-MAC Team

First Team

Kerstin Pahl, Western Michigan, Jr., Kiel, Germany
Anastasia Dracheva, Miami , Fr., Moscow, Russia
Vanessa Frankowski, Eastern Michigan, Sr., Stuttgart, Germany
Andreea Novaceanu, Buffalo, Sr., Bucharest, Romania
Brintney Larson, Miami, So., Peachtree City, Ga.
Kelsey Jakupcin, Bowling Green, Jr., Dublin, Ohio

Second Team

Denise Harijanto, Buffalo, So., Jarkata, Indonesia
Martina Wodzinski, Toledo, So., Bartlett, Ill.
Priyanka Parekh, Western Michigan, Sr., Kolkata, India
Christine Chiricosta, Bowling Green, Fr., Avon Lake, Ohio
Noriko Saruta, Western Michigan, So., Yamaguchi, Japan
Tanyaradzwa Gombera, Akron, Jr., Harare, Zimbabwe

Individual Award Winners

Player of the Year:
Kerstin Pahl, Western Michigann

Coach of the Year
: Betsy Kuhle, Western Michigan

Freshman of the Year: Diana Popescu, Buffalo and Anastasia Dracheva, Miami

Leann Grimes Davidge Sportsmanship Award:
Tanyaradzwa Gombera, Akron; Kelly Douple, Miami; and Noriko Saruta, Western Michigan