Eagles Battle, Fall to Hornets in Title Tilt

April 26, 2009

The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team saw its 2009 season come to a heartbreaking conclusion at the hands of Sacramento State on Sunday morning (April 26), as the Hornets defeated the Eagles 4-0 in the Big Sky Conference's championship match.

The Eagles, in a precarious, on-the-brink situation with a 3-0 deficit, were attempting to enact another historic comeback today (EWU rallied from 3-1 down for a 4-3 win over the Hornets in last year's championship match), but unfortunately were not successful.

At the time the Hornets put the final tally on the scoreboard, the Eagles were leading on courts four and five and were within striking distance on court three (Art Karas lost the first set there 6-4 and was trailing 4-2 in the second).

Sacramento State took its 3-0 advantage with wins at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles, as well as straight-sets victories at Nos. 6 and 2 singles. Nico Riego de Dios played well in the No. 1 contest, but could not keep up with his opponent in the second set, falling by 7-5, 6-2 scores.

The match took place at the Gold River Racquet Club in Gold River, Calif., just 16 miles from the campus of Sacramento State, the host of this year's Championship.

"I'm really happy with the way the guys competed," head coach Darren Haworth said. "It was a great season, and they finished it out with everything they had on the courts today."

Eastern Washington finishes one of its best seasons in school history with an 18-9 mark. The win total is tied for the most ever recorded by an EWU squad since the Eagles joined the NCAA Division I ranks (the 2008 team went 18-7). The Eagles finished second in the Big Sky's regular season this year at 6-2 as well as at the league's Championship.

An incredible senior class played its final matches in Eagles uniforms today. Karas, Pannhara Mam and Kyle Schraeder have been at Eastern four years, while Daniel Pez has played for the Eagles for three after transferring from Morehead State.

The quartet has helped bring the EWU men's tennis program to incredible levels. In the four years prior to 2006, the Eagles went a combined 6-52, 1-25 in Big Sky play. From 2006-09, Eastern Washington has recorded a 60-36 mark, 21-8 in Big Sky matches.

In 2008, the team won the Big Sky championship to advance to the NCAA Championship for the first time ever at the Division I level.

Eastern Washington vs Sacramento State
Apr 26, 2009 at Gold River, Calif.
(Gold River Racquet Club)
Sacramento State 4, Eastern Washington 0

Singles competition
1. HARBATSIUK, Kiryl (SAC) def. Riego de Dios, Nico (EWU) 7-5, 6-2
2. SMITH, Jason (SAC) def. Mam, Pannhara (EWU) 6-0, 6-2
3. STRYHAS, Anton (SAC) vs. Karas, Art (EWU) 6-4, 4-2, unfinished
4. STARCEVIC, Marko (SAC) vs. Schraeder, Kyle (EWU) 1-6, 6-5, unfinished
5. CHING, Holden (SAC) vs. Sanchez, Julian (EWU) 4-6, 5-6, unfinished
6. KLIMENKA, Artur (SAC) def. Pez, Daniel (EWU) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles competition
1. #56 STRYHAS, Anton/HARBATSIUK, Kiryl (SAC) vs. SCHRAEDER, Kyle/RIEGO DE DIOS, Nico (EWU) 6-3, unfinished
2. CHING, Holden/STARCEVIC, Marko (SAC) def. MAM, Pannhara/PEZ, Daniel (EWU) 8-4
3. SMITH, Jason/KLIMENKA, Artur (SAC) def. KARAS, Art/SANCHEZ, Julian (EWU) 8-5

Eastern Washington 18-9
Sacramento State 19-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,2,1)
Big Sky Championship

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