After conceding doubles point, Eastern wins four singles matches to help secure its place in the Big Sky Conference Championship
In a reverse performance from a day earlier, Eastern Washington University won four singles matches and defeated Portland State 4-3 in the final Big Sky Conference regular season match of the season for the Eagles Saturday (April 13) at Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, Wash.
The victory, coupled with Idaho State’s 5-2 victory over Northern Arizona on Saturday and Weber State's 4-3 victory a day later against Northern Colorado, clinched a berth in the Big Sky Conference Championship for the Eagles. With seeding still yet to be determined, Eastern will open the six-team, three-day tournament on April 26 in Sacramento, Calif.
A day after winning the doubles point but falling 4-3 to Montana, the reverse was true Saturday versus PSU. The Eagles improved to 5-5 in the league and 9-12 overall, while the Vikings fell to 1-7 in the league and 7-12 overall.
“Our guys rallied hard after losing the doubles point” said Eastern head coach Darren Haworth. “We responded well in singles and did what we had to do to win the match.”
For the second-straight day, Eastern senior Kyle Koetje picked up wins at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles (with sophomore Joseph Cohen) as he improved to 9-12 on the season in singles competition. Cohen improved to 13-3 with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles. Cohen lost his first set 6-3, but rallied to win the next two 6-1, 6-4.
But the difference Saturday was a 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles by freshman Tomas Aranguiz and a 6-1, 6-3 victory at No. 5 singles by freshman Arturo Carpio. The victory by Carpio clinched the match for the Eagles.
“Kyle and Tomas played exceptionally well – they did a great job of getting their wins fast,” added Haworth. “They stayed focused and played high-percentage tennis. And it was great to see Arturo step up and clinch the match for us.”
Eastern was originally scheduled to play a non-conference match on April 20 against Lewis-Clark State, but that was canceled after the season-ending dislocated kneecap injury suffered last week by No. 2 singles player Eduardo Martinez. Already missing Luke Thompson because of injury, Haworth had to juggle his lineup this weekend, including all three of his doubles tandems.