Hedberg wins first set at No. 1, but Eagles fall in straight sets at 2-6 in first Big Sky match of the year
The Eastern Washington University women’s tennis team may still be searching for its first win of the 2013 season, but the competition to date has been downright daunting. In its first four matches of the year, EWU has faced three teams ranked in the top 75 nationally. One of those was Big Sky favorite Sacramento State, who defeated the Eagles, 7-0, on Friday (Feb. 8) at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, Wash.
Playing its first home match of the season, the Eagles could not find a way to get past the 11-time defending Big Sky champions, who also happened to be ranked 58th in the nation.
Sac State picked up the first point of the day with a sweep of the doubles matches. Eastern did force a tiebreaker at No. 2, as senior Kelsey Knight and sophomore Chrissy Uriarte battled Katharina Knoebl and Jennifer Nguyen to an 8-7 (3) decision.
“When the match started, I noticed that the level of play was really not that much different between the teams,” said EWU interim head coach Dustin Hinson. “We felt like we were right there. I think the team was encouraged going into singles, but a few points here and there can change a match dramatically, and we weren’t able to stay mentally tough through the entire thing.”
In singles, freshman Moira Hedberg had an impressive start to her match at No. 1, as she beat her opponent 7-5 in the opening set. But Sac State's, Rebeca Delgado did not back down, winning the second set, 6-3, and then took the third, 6-1.
Uriarte also had a close match at No. 3, but after conceding a few important points in the first set, she ended up falling, 7-5, 6-1.
“Chrissy really could have won that first set, but when she didn’t, she got down,” said Hinson. “I think we are competing hard and there is positive encouragement coming from everyone throughout the match, but we are still struggling to finish points. That all comes with mental toughness.”
Senior Chelsea Patton won a couple games in each of her sets at No. 2, but Sac State’s Sophie Lohscheidt had the edge for a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Eastern dropped its matches at 4, 5 and 6 in straight sets.
“That’s the difference with these ranked teams we’ve played - they have the depth,” said Hinson. “It’s really important for us to win the doubles point and then the top of our lineup needs to step up and get wins because these teams are just solid one through six.”