Eagles Complete Play at EWU/GU Classic

Senior Judy Liening has longest run in tournament co-hosted by Eastern and Gonzaga

The Eastern Washington University tennis team wrapped up play at the EWU/GU Classic, which was held Friday – Sunday (Oct. 1-3) at the EWU Sports and Recreation Facility in Cheney, Wash. Despite the absence of two of its members due to some early-season injuries, the Eagles had a solid showing in their first home event of the 2010-11 season.

Judy Liening had the most success in the three-day tournament, as the senior from Federal Way, Wash., advanced to the semifinals of the Singles B bracket after winning her first two matches. Liening topped Natalie Martin of Seattle in the opening round with a 6-2, 6-1 decision. She then defeated another Redhawk in Sarah Lucas in the quarterfinals by a score of 6-3, 6-1. In the semis, Liening was pitted against SU's Gabriella Weissman, who ended up taking the match in three competitive sets (6-4, 2-6, 6-4).

After dropping the first set to Gonzaga's Madeline Parker, sophomore Rocio Norena battled back to win the second and third sets in the first round of the Singles B bracket. Norena outlasted Parker in the second set, winning by a score of 7-5 and then made quick work of the Bulldog in the third, as she took the set and match with a 6-0 decision. Norena ended up dropping her quarterfinal matchup to Weissman, who won 6-1, 6-0.

In the singles A bracket, sophomore Ryann Warner came out strong in her first round matchup with Idaho's Molly Knox, as the Colorado Springs, Colo., native won the first set by a score of 6-3. Unfortunately, Knox rebounded well and was able to take the match in three (3-6, 6-3, 6-0).

Eastern's Caitlin Bampton and Helon Ricks were not able to compete in the tournament due to injury, which resulted in several new doubles lineups for the Eagles. Chelsea Patton and Kelsey Knight was the only pair for Eastern to make it out of the first round, as the duo defeated Steffanie Mortera and Mikaela Peterson of Seattle by a score of 8-5. Rocio and sophomore Alix Silha fell 8-1 to the eventual doubles champions from Idaho, while Ryann and sophomore Jessie Steele dropped their match to the pair from Gonzaga by a score of 8-2.

"The women had a much better showing this weekend," said EWU associate head coach Dale Silha. "For this early in the season, we have made great improvements over a one week period and the players are getting more mental strength and stability with each match played."

The Eagles will compete in their final event of the 2010 fall season when they travel to Santa Barbara to compete at the UCSB Invitational Oct. 8-10.

"We will see some of the top talent in the nation this upcoming weekend in Santa Barbara," said Silha. "I'm looking forward to seeing the girls challenge themselves by competing against several of the top players in the country."


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