The Eastern Washington men's tennis team opened its 2014 campaign with three matches in the state of Oregon last weekend, picking up a pair of victories to start the year.
The Eagles (2-1) opened the season with a 6-0 win over NCAA Division III foe Willamette on Thursday, Jan. 16, before falling at No. 52 Oregon, 7-0, on Friday, Jan. 17. EWU closed out the weekend with a 5-2 victory over Portland State in a nonconference match on Saturday, Jan. 18.
"The guys competed well on the road and played with some great intensity," head coach Darrn Haworth said. "This was a good opportunity for us to see where we need to get better. We're excited to get back on the court for some practices before our next matches this week."
Offseason addition freshman Robert Dula impressed in his first matches for Eastern, playing all three matches in the top position. He defeated Willamette's Sam Wexman (6-1, 6-0) and Portland State's Brent Wheeler (6-4, 6-4), and hung tough with Oregon's Kevin Farin (4-6, 1-6).
Sophomore Eduardo Bringold also went 2-1 on the weekend at the No. 2 position, beating Willamette's Devin Abney (6-1, 6-2) and Portland State's Wil Cochrane (6-3, 6-4). He also pushed Oregon's Robin Cambier, eventually falling 6-3, 6-2.
"Robert and Eduardo really stepped up and showed a lot of leadership this weekend," Haworth said. "Having lost Eduardo Martinez to injury, everyone is having to step up this season and bring a higher level of competition."
Freshmen Wacil Bendjelti and Matt Boyle earned victories against the Vikings from the fourth and fifth positions, respectively. Bendjelti dispatched of Ian Risenhoover, 4-3, before Risenhoover retired while Boyle defeated Jonathan Pike 6-0, 6-5.
Sophomore Luke Thompson picked up a pair of doubles wins in the second position and earned a singles win against Willamette before pushing Portland State's Kacper Stelmaszak to three sets on Saturday (6-3, 5-6, 10-3).
Eastern won all three doubles matches against Willamette and two of the three matches against Portland State. Dula and Bringold played in the top doubles position against both Willamette and PSU while Dula and Bendjelti teamed up against the nationally-ranked Ducks.
The Eagles are back in action this Thursday, Jan. 23, when Seattle comes to Cheney for a 5:00 pm match.