Eagles Drop Two Narrow Matches to Montana State and Seattle

Ricks continues to impress with perfect 4-0 weekend

Freshman Helon Ricks of the Eastern Washington University women's tennis team extended her hot streak in Big Sky Conference play to 5-0, but as a team, the Eagles could not come up with enough wins to beat Montana State, as it fell 5-2 on Saturday (March 12) at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, Wash. Eastern also lost a narrow non-conference battle with Seattle over the weekend, falling 4-3 to the Redhawks on Sunday (March 13).

Ricks had a flawless weekend, winning both outings in singles and doubles to improve her overall record in the 2011 season to 10-4 in singles and 5-8 in doubles.

On Saturday against MSU, Ricks and partner Caitilin Bampton defeated Andrea De La Torre and Ellie Crum, 8-4 at No. 2 doubles.

Ricks was then pitted against De La Torre again in singles action, and she won the match at No. 5, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1. With the win, Ricks remained undefeated at 5-0in Big Sky action this season.

"Helon comes to win," said EWU associate head coach Dale Silha. "She is gritty and smart on the court. I am confident to say that anytime Helon is playing an opponent who is at least equal in skill, she is going to win the match."

Also highlighting the conference duel with the Bobcats was Rocio Norena's performance at No. 6 singles. Playing in the first conference singles match of her career, Norena outlasted MSU's Lucy Fairbotham, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7).

Junior Nefeli Diamanti also endured a three setter agaisnt the Bobcats at No. 3 singles. Unfortunately, she was on the losing end of it, but certainly put up a reputable fight against MSU's Paulina Lopez Trevino. Diamaniti won the first set, 6-4, but fell in the subsequent two by scores of 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (10-4).

On Sunday against Seattle, Ricks and Bampton were promoted to the No. 1 spot in doubles play, and the duo topped SU's Ariel Ohno and Anna Lambert, 8-6. The Redhawks managed to win at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles though to nab the first point of the day.

Ricks won her fourth-straight singles match when she bested Sarah Lucas at No. 4, 6-1, 6-3. Senior Judy Liening also won her singles matchup, defeating Gabriella Weissman at No. 3, 6-1, 6-1.

Playing in the top six for the first time this season, sophomore Jessi Steele rallied back from a one-set deficit to beat Anna Lambert, 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-2).

Although capturing three impressive wins in singles, Eastern would fall at No. 1, 2 and 5, giving Seattle the 4-3 victory. Earlier in the season, EWU beat the Redhawks, 6-1.

Eastern will next head to California for a trio of matches during spring break. The Eagles will play Colorado State in Fullerton, Calif., on March 19, followed by matches against Cal St. L.A. and Cal St. Fullerton on March 20 and 23, respectively.

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