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May 13, 2004

Epkey and Phillips earn regional honors

University of Southern Indiana senior tennis player Weston Phillips (Henderson, Kentucky) was named the recipient of the Great Lakes Regionís Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, while freshman Joe Epkey (Greenwood, Indiana) was named the Great Lakes Rookie of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Phillips completed his career at USI as the all-time leader in singles victories after posting an 18-6 overall record, 7-1 in the GLVC. He was 9-4 at number two singles and combined with four different doubles partners to record a 22-6 doubles mark.

During his tenure at USI, Phillips also helped the Eagles to two GLVC championships and four straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The purpose of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, which began in 1984, is to honor Arthur Ashe and the vision he embodied of the importance of education, sportsmanship and leadership. Tennis opened the door of higher education for Ashe.

Tennis and college offered him a springboard into a life of vast achievement - first as a world-class athlete, then as an educator and international humanitarian. The ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship winners are chosen based on the following criteria: tennis playing accomplishments, scholastic and extracurricular achievements sportsmanship, leadership and character humanitarian concern and accomplishments and the recipient must be a junior or senior enrolled for one full year prior to present term.

Epkey was named the Great Lakes Rookie of the Year after posting a team-best 21-6 overall record, 13-3 at number one singles. The freshman, who is ranked ninth as an individual in the Great Lakes Region, also was a GLVC-best 7-0 in conference regular season matches.

In doubles action, Epkey combined with Phillips and junior Kyle Taylor to record a 21-8 mark. He was 12-4 with Taylor at number two doubles, posting a near-perfect 7-1 record in the GLVC.

To be eligible for the Rookie of the Year award, a player must be in his first year of collegiate competition, be ranked among the top 50 in the ITA national college rankings, and contribute to his team in the areas of leadership, sportsmanship, and tennis performance during the season.

The USI menís tennis team finished 2003-04 with a 14-8 overall record, second in the GLVC, and made its fifth straight NCAA Division II Tournament appearance.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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