Eagles Clinch Playoff Spot on Senior Day

Senior Julian Sanchez helps lead Eastern to first postseason appearance since 2009

Playing its final home match of the year, the Eastern Washington University men's tennis team celebrated Senior Day with a postseason-clinching 5-2 victory over Northern Arizona on Sunday (April 8).

The Eagles now sit in second place in the Big Sky Conference standings with a 5-1 record.

It was a great win for the Eagles, but a bittersweet moment, as seniors Julian Sanchez, Chad Henninger and Stefan Simikic suited up for the final time in front of a home crowd.

"They've done a great job for our program over the last four years," said men's head coach Darren Haworth. "They've been steady for us the whole time. I'm going to hate to see them all go."

Henninger and Sanchez, who have played together since being freshmen, won No. 2 doubles 8-3, helping the men grab the doubles point.

Sanchez had an impressive win at No. 5 singles, as he was victorious in three sets, coming from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Also, James Russell defeated NAU's Robin Puzzutto in the No. 1 match, 6-2, 6-4. However, the score doesn't describe the intensity of the contest.

"James had one had a big win for us today," said Haworth. "He played really mentally tough to edge his opponent. That match was a great one for us today."

Even though the Eagles have clinched a postseason berth, Haworth isn't ready to sit down. He still wants to see the team improve.

"We just got to continue to work on our doubles and tighten a few things up," he added. " In singles, we need to continue to get wins. This weekend we gained a lot of mental toughness playing outside against a good team. If we continue to come together as a team, I like our chances to do well the rest of the season."

The Eagles travel to play Montana and Montana State next weekend in the final matches of the regular season.

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