Vaughn named Big Sky player of the week

Ethan Vaughn has a career 56-38 singles mark

Ethan Vaughn has a career 56-38 singles mark

April 22, 2014

Ethan Vaughn is the Big Sky Conference player of the week, the league announced on Tuesday. The senior from Spokane, Wash. was a vital cog in helping UM (11-11, 9-1) defeat Eastern Washington and Montana State, propelling the Griz into the No. 2 spot for this weekend's conference tourney. Head coach Kris Nord said it's a fitting end to his regular season career.

"I think it's a wonderful award for Ethan," Nord said. "He and Semion (Branzburg) had some big wins at doubles that set the tone for both wins, and he played solid, solid tennis the last month. It's great he got this award, he definitely led the way along with the seniors."

Vaughn was 2-0 at No. 5 singles last weekend, and 1-1 with partner Semion Branzburg at No. 1 doubles. The duo were also up 5-3 against Eastern Washington when the match was called off.

In the 6-1 defeat of the Eagles, Vaughn knocked out Rendell Burghart easily 6-2, 6-1. In Sunday's 4-0 win over the Bobcats, Vaughn and Branzburg clipped Niklas Brandes and Harry James 8-6, and shortly after, Vaughn defeated James 6-2, 6-1 at No. 5 doubles.

"I got off to a fast start, and I know Harry is having a good year," Vaughn said. "I went up fast and so did Peter (Mimnagh-Fleming) and Semion. Looking over and seeing them up 4-0 or 5-0, it gives you more confidence."

Vaughn struggled with a shoulder injury early this season, and missed the first duel with MSU -- a 4-3 loss -- and most of February.

"It feels good to be playing the way that we are," Vaughn said. "The season got off to a bumpy start with the shoulder. It's been better and it's sore, but I get adrenaline going and it loosens up. It was tough to start the senior year that way, but I've been able to play great lately."

Nord added that Vaughn has made incredible improvements to many aspects of his game during his Griz career. Vaughn turned a 5-7 singles record his freshman year into a 17-0 record at No. 6 singles his sophomore season.



"I would safely say that he's probably the most improved player since I've been here," Nord said. "That's what sticks out in my mind with Ethan, just much better he has gotten. He was a real talented player to begin with, but we needed to get his forehand improved, and he did that. I'm really happy for him, because to me, that's a successful career -- he's better than when he came here."

Nord said that Vaughn, who boast a career 56-38 singles record, plays intelligently and is great at breaking down his opponent during a match.

"And he's got a great serve, he can sit back, he can go to the net, and he can grind out points," Nord said. "He's got a lot of options to work with."

Vaughn and the rest of the second-seed Griz will look to notch two more wins and become conference champs, starting with a semifinal match on Saturday afternoon at Gold River, Cailf.

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