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GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES
March 17, 2004

SAVIC'S GUTSY PERFORMANCE EARNS HUSKIE SENIOR A MID-AM WOMEN'S TENNIS PLAYER OF WEEK AWARD
CLEVELAND, OH---Sometimes will power and a little determination can push an athlete a long way. Northern Illinois University women's tennis player Branka Savic (Geelong, Australia / North Geelong Secondary) exemplified that this weekend, fighting through illness and a cross-country flight to post a pair of victories and win a Mid-American Conference Player of the Week award as announced by league commissioner Rick Chryst Wednesday (Mar. 17).

The weekly accolade is the first of Savic's career and the second of the season for Northern Illinois as a team. Karrie Tyioran (Oswego) took home the same certificate back on Feb. 17.

"Branka had a goal coming into this season that she wanted to be successful in the MAC," Huskie head coach Laura Scott noted. "So this award really means something, because she has been trying to prepare, every day, to head into the MAC and have a good senior year."

Savic helped lead NIU to a 6-3 victory over the University of California-San Diego---ranked 20th in the latest NCAA Division II Top 25---despite feeling under the weather heading into the match. The two-time All-MAC selection posted a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Leigh Roberts in the No. 2 singles spot and paired up with Ivonne Andrade (San Luis Potosi, Mexico / Instituto Lomos de Real) to earn an 8-3 triumph in the top doubles spot.

After a tough start to the season, Savic has climbed back to 10-12 in singles play including a now perfect 1-0 mark in the second spot in the lineup. When playing together as a tandem, Savic and Andrade boast a 9-8 ledger.

"Branka sets a very good tone for this team," Scott added. "Her senior role is that of a motivational leader. Now that her physical game on the court is starting to come back around as well, she is going to be a very important part of our success down the stretch."

NIU begins that stretch run this week by squaring off against instate rival University of Illinois-Chicago. The two teams are scheduled to battle Thursday (Mar. 18) at 12:00 p.m. (CST) at the Evergreen Racquet Club in downtown Chicago.

-30- --Copy by Brian Kedzior