September 6, 2006

Five Eagles Earn All-Big Sky Honors

April. 26, 2006

Continuing to set new milestones at every turn, a most-ever five Eastern Washington University tennis players have been selected to the 2006 All-Big Sky Conference team -- including a first team selection for the first time in 10 years.

Freshman Pannhara Mam was a first team All-Big Sky selection on the men's team, and was joined by sophomore second team selection Patrick Millican and freshman honorable mention pick Kyle Schraeder. Sophomore Kasey Knox was named to the women's second team and freshman Rachel Berger earned honorable mention accolades.

"These players have worked hard all year," said Eagle head coach Pat Dreves, whose teams play Thursday at the Big Sky Conference Championships in Pocatello, Idaho. "We haven't had to motivate them as much as you would think you would have to do with younger players. They've done a great job."

"These are nice fruits of their labors," he added. "Hopefully it carries over into our matches Thursday."

The last first team selection for the Eagles was Brian Hart in 1996. Eastern has never had more than two men's or women's players earn All-Big Sky honors in the same year, and the most by the two squads combined was four in 1999.

And best of all, all five of this year's honored players are either freshmen or sophomores.

"The future for Eastern tennis is extremely bright," said Dreves, whose teams have already combined for 10 more wins this season than a year ago. "These players, our other returning players and the new players we have coming in next year have a great work ethic and know what you need to do to be successful. I couldn't be more proud of them."

Mam has compiled a 12-5 singles record thus far while competing at No. 1 singles (5-5) and No. 2 (7-0). The 2005 graduate of McKay High School in Salem, Ore., has combined with Schraeder at No. 1 doubles for a 12-5 record.

"He has come in as a freshman and has done everything we ask," praised Dreves. "He works hard at practice and lifting, and is always excited to be on the court. As a result, he has had phenomenal win-loss records. Wherever you put him on the court you expect him to win, which is rare for a freshman."

The last time Eastern has had a player win at least 12 individual matches was in 1996 by Hart with a record of 13-8. The last time a doubles team won at least 12 came in 1999 by Shane Stiner and Ryan Moran with a record of 12-7. Records are incomplete to determine if an EWU men's doubles team has ever won 13 or more matches.

Schraeder is 9-8 while playing at No. 1 singles (6-2), No. 2 (2-6) and No. 3 (1-0). He is from Sumner, Wash., and is a 2005 graduate of Auburn-Riverside High School.

Millican is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and graduated from St. Paul's High School in 2004. He is 10-6 this season and 15-20 in his career in singles competition at EWU. He has combined with two different partners this season for a 13-5 record in doubles.

Knox, a 2004 graduate of Hanford High School in West Richland, Wash., is 8-11 this season and has taken over as EWU's No. 1 singles player. She is 14-26 in her career, and has combined with five different players for an 8-10 doubles mark this year.

Rachel Berger is 9-6 at singles and 5-8 in doubles competition. She graduated from Hermiston, Ore., High School in 2005.

Both teams play at the Big Sky Conference Tennis Championships, which start Thursday (April 27) in Pocatello, Idaho. The sixth-seeded Eagle women are making a repeat appearance in the tournament and take on Northern Arizona at 9 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday (April 27). The fourth-seeded men's team is making its first appearance since 2003 and plays fifth-seeded Idaho State at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Eastern's men's team has never won a Big Sky Conference Tournament match in seven tournament appearances. The women are 2-13 overall, with a current eight-match losing streak. The last time the Eagle women won came in 1994 when the Eagles beat Montana 5-0.

Enjoying breakthrough seasons, the Eagle women are now 7-12 on the season (1-5 in the Big Sky Conference) while the men are 10-7 (3-3 in the Big Sky Conference). The last time Eastern won that many women's matches in a single season came in 1996 when the Eagles were 7-15. Eastern hasn't won eight matches since going 10-8 in 1993. The men haven't won 10 matches since finishing 13-10 in the 1985 season. Last year, the Eagle women were 4-17 and the men were 3-17.

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