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October 12, 2004

Pairings set for ITA Championships
Epkeys will begin play on Thursday

EVANSVILLE, IN University of Southern Indiana sophomore Joe Epkey and freshman Jarrod Epkey (Greenwood, Indiana) will begin their quest for the Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Championship Thursday at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers, Florida. The tournament runs October 14-17.

The Epkeys are the first USI tennis players to advance to the ITA National Championship round in the history of the program.

In singles, Joe Epkey draws senior Richard Stempnowski, from host FGCU, in the first round. Stempnowski, who successfully defended his ITA Southeast Region title two weeks ago, finished fourth at last years national championship held in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Joe Epkey enters Thursdays match on the heels of his first ITA Great Lakes Regional crown. The 2004 GLVC Freshman of the Year has an 11-2 singles record in 2003-04 and has won 32 of 38 matches in his first two seasons for the Screaming Eagles.

In doubles, the Epkey brothers play senior Dale White and freshman Robert Jendelund, the ITA Mid-Atlantic Regional champion from Armstrong Atlantic State University. As a sophomore, White and teammate Achim Roth advanced to the 2002 ITA Small College Championships and finished fourth in the eight-team bracket.

The Epkeys have had an outstanding beginning to 2003-04, going 14-0 overall this fall. Joe Epkey was 21-8 in doubles as a freshman with two different partners.

The ITA National Small College Championships, presented by the United States Tennis Association, annually crown men's and women's singles and doubles national champions in each of the ITA's four small college divisions - NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College. These championships are the only national tournaments for singles and doubles at the NCAA Division II and NAIA level, and the only tournaments that combine all levels of Junior/Community Colleges (NJCAA Divisions I, II and III, and California Community Colleges). Participants are determined through the ITA Regional Championships, held in September and October, which serve as qualifying tournaments.

At the ITA National Small College Championships each division (men's and women's singles and doubles) consists of the eight champions from regional tournaments played across the country, from which a national champion from each division is determined during the first two-and-a-half days of competition.

The national champions from each division square off in the ITA "Super Bowl" of Small College Tennis during the weekend to determine the overall ITA National Small College Champions, who then earn berths into the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, a Division I event held each November.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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