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NORMAL - Illinois State senior guard Neil Plank has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University All-District V Team for the third straight season.
Plank, a first-year master of business administration student, is averaging 7.8 points per game in 22 games this season and leads the Redbirds with 62 total assists. The product of Mount Zion earned his bachelor's degree in finance with a 3.93 GPA.
"There was one prediction I was right about and that is that there is no question with Neil's academic capabilities and drive," said ISU coach Porter Moser. "It's phenomenal that he keeps doing it every year and it's a credit to him. I think after this year when he goes into the real world, some company is going to be very fortunate to have Neil because of his drive to succeed academically."
Plank was one of two players on the five-player team representing the Missouri Valley Conference. He joined Southern Illinois' Jamal Tatum as well as Minnesota's Adam Boone, Valparaiso's Dan Oppland and Notre Dame's Chris Quinn.
Soccer team adds six
Soccer season is still seven months away, but the time is now for head coach Pete Kowall and the Illinois State women's soccer team.
The Redbirds have added six players to their 2006 six roster. Bree Bast, Shannon Eccleston, Amy Heredia, Danielle Mutters, Raquel Rattray and Amanda Wisniewski have each committed to play for Illinois State in the upcoming season.
"We were looking for versatility as well as some kids who could score goals," said Kowall, who's team lost three seniors to graduation and three other members to personal reasons. "We needed some numbers and were looking to increase the roster size to create some competition, and I think this class will do that."
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During her sophomore season at St. Charles North High School, Bast was the leading scorer with 23 goals. As a starting forward, she led her team to a regional and sectional championship.
Eccleston, a defender from North Olmsted, Ohio, was named the team's defensive MVP in 2004.
Amy Heredia is a forward from Cary Grove High School where she received all-conference and all-area honors her sophomore year.
Mutters is a member of the ASC United soccer club and her U-17 team was the 2005 state runner-up. Mutters was name to the 2004-05 West Suburban Gold All-Conference team as a midfielder at Hinsdale South High School.
Rattray, of Evanston Township High School, plays for the Eclipse Premier 87/88 club team as a center midfielder.
Wisniewski, a midfielder from Mundelein High School, was a North Suburban All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2004.
Men's tennis hosts DePaul
The Illinois State men's tennis team will compete against DePaul at 7 p.m. today at the Evergreen Racquet Club. ISU will have a chance to break its four-match losing streak, with all four losses happening on the road.
The Redbirds last claimed victory Jan. 14 in a doubleheader against Wright State, which was the Redbirds' last home game.
"As a team we need to have the whole group playing well together. The team needs every player to show up and play hard every night," Redbirds head coach Greg Kennett said.
DePaul, who has also yet to win on the road, has dropped its last five matches and is looking to turn its spring season around.