Eagles Battle Through Adversity but Fall to Hornets, 5-2

Sophomore Eduardo Martinez suffers season-ending knee injury during doubles play

The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team had the momentum early in its match against Big Sky perennial power Sacramento State, but an upsetting injury during doubles play left the team without one of its top players for the duration.

The Eagles ended up falling to Sac State, 5-2, in a Big Sky Conference dual Saturday (April 6) at the Scotford Tennis Center on the campus of Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. With the loss, EWU drops to 8-11 on the year, and 4-4 in conference play, while the Hornets improve to 14-11 overall and finish their 2013 Big Sky slate at 9-1.

Midway through the match at No. 1 doubles, sophomore Eduardo Martinez suffered a season-ending injury. Martinez was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for a dislocated knee and later released.

“When something like that happens, it rattles you,” said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. “I felt like we really had some momentum and were playing tough, but that changed the match. Everyone, including the Sac State players, were in a little bit of shock.”

EWU had a 4-3 lead on Sac State at No. 1 when the injury occurred, but play was suspended for nearly a half hour, and the Eags were forced to concede that match. The Eagles also had a 4-3 advantage in the dual at No. 3, but after earning an 8-1 victory at the No. 2 spot, the Hornets took the doubles point for the early 1-0 advantage.

With Martinez out, EWU was forced to shuffle its singles lineup. Coming into the match, the sophomore from Mexico City, Mexico had a 9-6 record in the 2013 campaign, playing primarily at No. 2 singles. Martinez had won five of his last six dual matches.

Sophomore Joseph Cohen, who has played alongside Martinez all season in doubles, was able to rebound from the unfortunate events in doubles and pick up a big win at No. 1 singles. Outlasting his opponent in an exciting second-set tiebreaker, Cohen handed Sac State’s Roy Brandys a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) loss.

Cohen is now 11-3 on the year at No. 1 singles, and an incredible 6-0 in conference duals.

Playing No. 2 singles for just the second time this season, senior Kyle Koetje fell to Aliaksandr Malko, 7-5, 6-2. Freshmen Tomas Aranguiz and Eduardo Bringold also lost in straight sets at No. 3 and 4, respectively.

Sophomore Stefan Farrar, who had won five of his last six matches at No. 6 singles, moved up in the lineup to No. 5, but was edged by Malko, 6-1, 6-3.

Freshman Arturo Carpio was able to put one more point on the board for EWU when he recorded a solid victory over Henrik Raag at No. 6. Carpio earned a 6-4, 6-4 decision in what was his first appearance in singles since Feb. 22 against Idaho State. Carpio has played in 15 matches this year, but primarily just at No. 2 and 3 doubles.

“I thought we competed at a high level against a good team,” said Haworth. “The guys had a lot on their minds, but I have to give everyone credit for gutting out their matches.”

Eastern will be back in action next weekend for its final two conference matches of the regular season against Montana and Portland State. The Eags take on UM Friday (April 12) at 2 p.m. in Cheney, before facing the Vikings on Saturday (April 13) at 3 p.m.

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