Eastern home for first time in a month to take on 4-2 Pilots
Eastern vs. Portland
Friday, Feb. 15 | 10 a.m. PST
Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse | Cheney, Wash.
Follow @EWUAthletics on Twitter for live updates during the match
Coming off its first Division I win of the season against Seattle U, the Eastern Washington University men’s tennis team will look to make it two in a row on Friday (Feb. 15) when it takes on another familiar rival in Portland.
The Eagles host the Pilots at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, Wash., at 10 a.m.
Eastern has not played at home since its season opener on Jan. 20. The Eagles will look to use their home-court advantage for a win over Portland, which has been hard to come by for Eags throughout history.
“We do take pride in playing at home and it’s a huge home court advantage for us,” said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. “But we still have to come out and compete really hard because Portland is a very good team. They have done really well against us in the past, and they are coming off a match just yesterday against No. 12 Ole Miss, where they competed really well.”
Since 1982, the Pilots have earned a 31-3 record against Eastern Washington. The only win for the Eagles in the last decade came in 2008, when EWU narrowly defeated UP, 4-3.
The Pilots come into this match with a 4-2 record in the 2013 campaign, which includes a sweep of fellow Big Sky member, Montana State. Portland has also played Washington, South Carolina Upstate and Seattle - all of which are teams EWU has also faced this season.
Both EWU and UP lost to the nationally-ranked Huskies, and both teams beat Seattle U, but Portland was able to edge USC Upstate, 4-3, while EWU lost to the Spartans by the same narrow margin.
“We are still battling some early-season injures and sickness with some of our guys, so we are just focusing on competing the best we can with whoever is out there. We are continuing to get our doubles teams more familiar with each other, and work on playing high-percentage points and making fewer unforced errors.”
“I think against Portland, if we can sneak out the doubles point, which we have been able to do over the years in the fieldhouse, we could get up on them,” added Haworth. “We just have to come out and play really aggressive in doubles.”
Eagle News & Notes
- Leading the Eagles at the No. 1 spot this year is sophomore Joseph Cohen, who was recently named Big Sky Player of the Week. In EWU’s pair of matches in Eugene, Ore., on Feb. 8-9, Cohen recorded back-to-back wins at No. 1 singles, and picked up his first doubles win of the year as well. The most notable victory of the young 2013 season came against then-No. 72 Oregon. Playing in the top spot, Cohen defeated Jeff Mullen, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-5).
- Eastern has an incredibly young roster for 2013, but recently, that youth stepped up in a big way to help the Eagles capture their first Division I win of the year - a nail-biting 5-2 decision over Seattle. Freshman Luke Thompson clinched the match for EWU when he rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the first set to win his match at No. 5, 6-4, 6-4. Thompson and partner Eduardo Martinez had also helped EWU earn the doubles point earlier in the match with an 8-0 sweep at No. 3. Martinez went on to win his singles match, playing at No. 1 for the injured Joseph Cohen. Freshman Stefan Farrar also won his singles match at No. 6, as did senior Kyle Koetje at No. 4.
- EWU is 2-4 on the season, but Eastern is particularly strong at the top of its lineup. The Eagles have a winning (or even .500) record in the No. 1 spot this year. The team is 4-2 at No. 1 singles, and 3-3 at No. 1 doubles. Sophomore Joseph Cohen has played four of six matches at No. 1 for a 2-4 record, while sophomore Eduardo Martinez has won both matches he has played in the top spot. As doubles partners, they is 2-3 at No. 1.
- Eastern Washington entered the 2013 season with just one returning letterwinner in Kyle Koetje, who also happens to be the only upperclassman on the roster this year. The Eagles have five freshman and four sophomores.