Wichita State Shockers

Wakim helps WSU women advance

Lily Wakim has had to learn to speak some Spanish, Portugese and a little Romanian this year on the Wichita State women's tennis team.

That's because Wakim, a sophomore who graduated from Northwest in 2008, is the only American-born player on the roster with players from Indonesia, Brazil and Romania.

She's also had to fill the No. 6 spot in singles for WSU as injuries piled up this season, something she never dreamed could happen.

"I never thought I would play, never thought I would be a roster player and then a couple injuries and it's up to No. 6," Wakim said.

Wakim stepped in and helped the Shockers defeat Bradley 4-0 Friday and advance to the semifinals today at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship at WSU's Coleman Tennis Complex.

The WSU women play Northern Iowa at 10 a.m. while the men play Drake at 2 p.m.

Wakim and Delia Damaschin were up 7-1 before their doubles match was called after WSU won the other two matches, missing out on her first MVC win.

But Wakim defeated Bradley's Brigitte Graf 6-0, 6-2 to get the singles victory she had waited for.

"The coaches were really good about telling me not to expect it," Wakim said. "But today was really good, a good way to start the conference tournament."

What's more amazing about Wakim's contribution to the Shockers' success is that she's done it as a walk-on.

"Certainly for a walk-on at a program of our level there is no promises on playing time or anything and she knew that coming in," WSU coach Colin Foster said. "She's gotten a lot better this year. Part of that is from her work ethic and it's also being in the lineup day in and day out."

Wakim also filled a void for many of the Shockers, who are thousands of miles away from anywhere they call home.

"We've got such a great group of girls from all over the world but it is nice to have a local player," Foster said. "It helps to have a home to go to, we've got such a close team and to have that extra feeling of home, it's huge."

MVC honors _ WSU's Lutfiana Budiharto was named the MVC women's player of the year. The women also had five singles players and two doubles teams named all-conference.

Budiharto, Stephanie Dalmacio, Lenore Lazaroiu, Delia Damaschin and Florentina Hanisch were the singles players honored. The No. 1 doubles team of Damaschin and Dalmacio was named all-MVC, as was the No. 2 team of Hanisch and Lazaroiu.

The men had two all-conference singles selections, No. 5 David Cavalcanti and No. 6 Matheus Pereira.

Kasper and Valentin Mihai tied for No. 1 doubles all-conference. Cavalcanti and Pereira were honored at No. 3 doubles.