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April 24, 2003

NCAA invites both USI tennis teams
Menís team in tournament for fourth straight year
Womenís team to make first appearance

For the first time in the history of the USI tennis programs, both the menís and womenís teams have received an invitation to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Great Lakes Regional is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, May 1-2, in Midland, Michigan, and Big Rapids, Michigan.

The USI menís team, which is the fifth seed, is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA II Tournament when it plays fourth-seeded Northern Kentucky University at 1 p.m. (CT) Thursday. The USI-NKU match-up will be a replay of the GLVC Tournament Championship won by the Norse 5-2. The Screaming Eagles hope the third match of the year will be the charm as the Norse also won the regular season match at USI, 5-4.

The winner of the USI-NKU match will play the winner of the top seeded Northwood University and eighth-seeded University of Indianapolis contest on Friday.

The Eagles are led by their All-GLVC performers Ė senior Paulus Halim and Bhavesh Chadda and junior Weston Phillips. Chadda and Phillips led the Eagles with identical 14-6 singles records and combined for a 17-8 doubles record.

In Big Rapids, second-seeded Ferris State University will host Shepherd College (West Virginia) and third-seeded Wayne State University will play sixth-seeded University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Also in Midland on Thursday, the USI womenís team will be making its first appearance in the tournament and will be the sixth seed. The Eagles will play third-seeded Grand Valley State University at 10:30 a.m. (CT). The Lakers defeated the Eagles earlier this month, 8-1.

The USI-GVSU match-up will play the winner of second-seeded Northern Michigan University and seventh-seeded West Liberty State College on Friday.

The Eagles are led by four-time All-GLVC performer Emily Blinzinger and GLVC Freshman of the Year Ashley Rees. Blinzinger, a senior, was 11-5 in 2002-03 and will finish her career as the all-time winningest player in USI history. Rees, who follows in Blinzingerís foot steps as a Freshman of the Year, led the Eagles with a 16-5 record and combined with Blinzinger for an 8-4 record in doubles.

Completing the womenís bracket in Midland is top seed and host Northwood University versus eighth-seeded Lewis University and fourth-seeded Ferris State University against fifth-seeded University of Indianapolis.

Match times are subject to change due to weather and play being forced inside.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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