After a perfect 7-0 start to senior campaign, Henninger lays claim to first-career weekly honor
Senior Chad Henninger had a triumphant return to his home state this past weekend, winning back-to-back singles matches against No. 69 Oregon and Big Sky foe Portland State. For his efforts, Henninger was named the Co-Big Sky Player of the Week, which marked the first weekly honor of his career. Henninger shared the award with Sacramento State's Marek Marksoo.
Eastern (6-3, 3-0 Big Sky) has earned two conference accolades already this season, as sophomore James Russell was also honored as a Big Sky POW on Jan. 24.
With the two wins in Oregon, Henninger extended his perfect 2012 singles record to 7-0 – currently the best overall record in the Big Sky.
A native of Eugene, Henninger had a sweet homecoming on Friday when he downed Oregon's Jose Izquierdo in straight sets at No. 4 singles, 6-2, 7-5. Henninger was the only Eagle to record a win against the nationally-ranked Ducks.
Less than 24 hours later, Henninger picked up his third-straight win in conference play, as he beat Portland State's Alex Marx also at No.4. Henninger won the first set, 6-3, but then fell behind early in the second.
"Chad was down 5-2 in his second set against Portland State, and really to battle through some nerves," said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. "He fought back and was able to force the tiebreaker. It was a great match. All season, Chad has continued to find ways to win."
Henninger edged Marx in the second-set tiebreaker to come away with the hard fought 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) victory.
Henninger also celebrated a win in doubles against PSU, as he and partner Julian Sanchez dominated at No. 3, 8-2. As doubles partners, Henninger and Sanchez are 4-2 on the season, which includes a perfect 3-0 mark in conference.
The Eagles will be back in action this Wednesday (Feb. 22) when they host Gonzaga at 5 p.m. at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, Wash. Eastern won two matches against the Zags during the 2011 season, but both were close affairs - a 4-3 victory in Spokane and a 4-2 win in Cheney.