Western Michigan Tennis Teams Honored

Updated 8/20/2008

Story courtesy of Western Michigan University athletic media relations


KALAMAZOO -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its 2007-08 All-Academic Teams and ITA Scholar-Athletes and Western Michigan was well represented by both the men's and women's tennis teams.


Every year since the award's inception, the WMU women's tennis team has been named an All-Academic Team, a stretch of 14 consecutive years that no other NCAA Division I institution can match.


The Broncos went 17-8 last season and claimed their fourth consecutive undefeated Mid-American Conference championship on the way to finishing the year No. 55 in the country and earning a spot in the exclusive 2009 National Team Indoor Championships.


Individually, the women were represented by MAC Player of the Year Kerstin Pahl, Second Team All-MAC players Noriko Saruta and Priyanka Parekh, MAC All-Tournament Team honoree Amanda Moccia, Ashley Moccia and Yuka Kobayashi. The Broncos are one of only 17 Division I schools with six or more ITA Scholar-Athletes.


The men's tennis team earned the collective honor for the fifth year in a row and 10th time in program history. Not only did the Broncos claim the 2008 MAC regular season and tournament championships, but they are also the only ITA All-Academic Team in the league. The Broncos finished 20-8 overall and led Michigan, 1-0, in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.


The men's ITA Scholar-Athletes are First Team All-MAC standout Alex Birchmeier, Second Team All-MAC player Kazuya Komada, MAC All-Tournament Team honoree Michael Calderone, Bryan Norville and Casey Cullen.


The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All eligible student-athletes whose names appear on the NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA eligibility form and have competed in one or more varsity matches must average into the GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2007 and spring 2008).


In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman thorough senior year).