Etzkin, Five Vikings Capture League Honors

Etzkin, Five Vikings Capture League Honors

April 28, 2007

Contact: Josh Rattray

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After leading the Cleveland State men's tennis team to its best regular season league finish in school history, head coach Brian Etzkin was named Horizon League Coach of the Year at the league's pre-championships banquet Friday night. Men's players Phil Orno, Ryan Hamning and Brad Groleski and women's players Sarah Galon and Charlotte Gibbons were named all-Horizon League in a voting by the league's coaches.


In his fifth year at CSU, Etzkin guided this year's men's team to a 17-7 record (4-1 in league play) and the team's first-ever No. 2 seed in the Horizon League Championship. The 17 wins are the second-highest mark in school history and highest since the 1989 Vikings went 18-11.


"I am excited for the honor, but in the end, the only reason I won the award is because of the hard work of our program," Etzkin said. "The award is dedicated to our players and (assistant David) Coach Howell, who works as hard as anyone."


Etzkin, who is Cleveland State's all-time coaching wins leader in both men's and women's tennis, has a combined record of 119-127 and has guided the team from a perennial last place team to a league contender. The Wooster native has guided both teams to 10 or more wins in each of the last four years, starting with the 2004 campaign that saw Etzkin capture women's tennis coach of the year honors.


The success of both teams has led to individual league honors for five players as well. Orno, a freshman Denmark native, led three all-league men's players by garnering first team All-Horizon League honors after posting a 20-16 record playing Nos. 1 and 2 singles. He went 4-1 in league play, including wins in his last three matches of the season.


Hamning and Groleski each garnered second team honors. Hamning, a Middletown, Ohio native, had a dominant campaign, going 27-11 in singles play, including an 18-6 mark in dual action. Groleski, a junior from Springboro, Ohio, went 17-19 while playing most of the season at No. 1 singles.


Hamning and Orno were nearly automatic as a No. 1 doubles combo, posting a 26-6 record.


"All of our guys were competitive and had great years," Etzkin said. "For us to have three of the 12 all-league players shows where how far our program has come."


Galon a senior from Waienae, Hawaii, was named first team All-Horizon League for the fourth straight year while Gibbons captured second team honors. Galon capped her brilliant career with a 25-11 season at No. 1 singles. The 2005 Horizon League Player of the Year went 18-6 in dual matches, 18-16 in doubles play and was named Horizon League Athlete of the Week three times this season. Gibbons posted a 20-12 record in her first year at CSU while playing mostly No. 3 singles. The freshman Irchester, England native proved she could play at a high level on the college tennis circuit, winning at least two matches in four different spots of the CSU lineup.


"It was great for the league to recognize the great job Sarah has done here at CSU the last four years," Etzkin said. "And Charlotte getting second team is a great honor. The good thing for her is that she's one of the league's top players in only her first year."


Galon also captured the league's Herb Foster Sportsmanship award for the second straight year.


Butler's James Low and UIC's Callan Smith were named the men's and women's players of the year, respectively.


Both CSU tennis teams are at the Horizon League Championship this weekend at North Central High School in Indianapolis. The Viking women open versus UW-Milwaukee Saturday at 9:00 a.m. while the men will face the UIC-Youngstown State winner on Saturday evening in the tournament semifinals.