Eagle men looking for first Big Sky win of season, while women aim to keep four-match winning streak alive
The Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s tennis teams are back in action this weekend for a couple of important Big Sky home matches, as well as one non-conference dual for the women against a familiar opponent.
The men host conference-leading Montana State (7-4, 3-0 Big Sky) on Friday (March 1) at 3 p.m. at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, before facing Northern Colorado (4-2, 1-1) on the same courts Saturday (March 2) at 4 p.m.
The women’s team will actually begin its weekend “on the road” playing just up the road at Gonzaga on Friday at 5 p.m. The Eags will be back in Cheney though on Saturday to play UNC (1-4, 0-2) at 10 a.m.
Women’s Tennis Notes
- Eastern is currently a four-match winning streak, which includes back-to-back Big Sky wins against Idaho State and Weber State - two of the teams expected to challenge Eastern for one of the six coveted bids to the 2013 Big Sky Conference tournament (April 26-28). With those four wins, EWU has already tied the total wins earned in the entire 2012 season. The Eagles have won the doubles point in each of those four matches, and have also gone 6-1 in tiebreakers during the hot streak.
- Since Northern Colorado became a member of the Big Sky Conference in 2006-07, the Eagle women have gone 3-3 against the Bears in regular-season duals, and 0-1 when meeting in the postseason.
- This weekend, sophomore Alexis Filliol with suit up against her former team, Northern Colorado. Filliol played for the Bears as a freshman in 2011 before transferring to EWU. Filliol is a native of Yakima, Wash. With the Eagles this year, she has earned a 3-5 record playing at No. 6 singles, and is 3-2 in doubles action.
- Sophomore Moira Hedberg has led EWU this season, with a winning record in both doubles and singles. Hedberg is 5-4 at No. 1 singles and 5-3 at No. 1 doubles with partner Chelsea Patton. Hedberg was selected as the Big Sky Player of the Week on Feb. 19 after a perfect weekend on the road at ISU and WSU. Then only losses Hedberg has had this year have come against nationally-ranked teams, and she was able to force a third set in one of them and tiebreakers in two others.
- Senior Ryann Warner also has a winning record in the 2013 campaign, with a 3-2 mark at No. 5 singles and 1-0 at No. 6. Her last three-straight singles matches have all gone to three sets, but Warner prevailed in each one. She has played more three-setters than anyone else on the team this year.
- Seniors Ryann Warner, Chelsea Patton and Kelsey Knight are among the top 10 in school history for career singles wins. Ryan currently ranks eighth in the record book with 25, while Patton and Knight are tied for 10th with 21 apiece. Knight and Warner have also etched their names in the single-season record book, each with 11 wins in the 2010 season, which ranks as the fourth-most in school history.
- Eastern entered the 2013 season with six returning letterwinners, two returning squad members, two returning redshirts and one newcomer. While most of the roster is filled with returners, one new face to the program is interim head coach, Dustin Hinson, who joined the Eagle staff in January 2013. Hinson is a native of Moscow, Idaho and played four years of collegiate tennis for the Vandals.
Men’s Tennis Notes
- The Eagle men will be looking for their first win in Big Sky play, after a tough weekend that saw the team drop two matches at Idaho State and Weber State. The Eagles are 2-8 overall in the 2013 campaign.
- In the past five years under head coach Darren Haworth, EWU has gone 3-2 against Montana State in regular-season matches, and 2-0 in postseason meetings. But four of those seven meetings have been 4-3 decisions, including two losses for the Eagles in 2010 and 2011. Against Northern Colorado, EWU is 6-0 all-time.
- Due to various injuries and a very young roster, EWU has not been able to field a consistent lineup in its first 10 matches of the year. EWU has had eight different players play at least one singles match, while seven of those have appeared in two or more different spots in the lineup. Senior Kyle Koetje represents the only player on the team that has played both doubles and singles in all 10 matches to date.
- While there has been some shuffling to the lineup, EWU has been particularly strong at No .1 singles this year, with a 5-5 record. Sophomore Joseph Cohen is 3-3 in the top spot, while fellow sophomore Eduardo Martinez has gone 2-2 playing there.
- Eastern has five freshman and four sophomores on its 2013 roster. EWU 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.