Eagles look to keep winning Big Sky record intact on its final road trip of the 2013 season
While the student-athletes on the Eastern Washington University women’s tennis team have a break from school this week, the Eagles are busy on the courts with three road matches in four days, including two important Big Sky Conference duals.
In its first competition since March 12, EWU will play at Southern Utah on Wednesday (March 27) at 1 p.m. PST. The Eagles will then head to Flagstaff, Ariz., to take on the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona on Friday (March 29), before completing the road swing on Saturday (March 30) with a non-conference dual against Texas-Pan American.
EWU is heading in with a 5-10 record on the season, which includes a 3-2 mark in Big Sky play. This will be the final road trip of the year for EWU, as its final three league matches against Montana, Montana State and Portland State are all in Cheney.
Eastern is currently fifth in the Big Sky standings, behind league-leading Sacramento State (7-0), second-place Montana (4-1), third-place NAU (3-1) and fourth-place Northern Colorado, which has the same record (3-2) as the Eags, but won the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Right on its heels is Montana State at 2-3, while Southern Utah is currently seventh at 1-2.
With 11 teams now in the league, the 2013 Big Sky Conference tennis championships will include the top six teams from the regular season, as opposed to just four as it was in the previous two years. EWU has missed the cut for postseason for three-straight years. But the Eags have already earned more Big Sky wins this year than in had in 2011 and 2012. This year's Big Sky tournament is slated for April 26-28 in Sacramento, Calif.
In the matches this weekend, EWU will be looking for its first win against NAU in more than two decades. The Eagles are 1-16 all-time against the Lumberjacks, with the lone victory coming in 1988. Eastern and Southern Utah have never met.
EWU Women's Tennis Notes
- In each of EWU’s five team wins this year, the Eagles started the match by winning the doubles point. In all 10 of its losses, Eastern has not been able to capture the doubles point despite a few early point advantages in several of the duals.
- Right now, sophomore Moira Hedberg is the only Eagle who boasts a winning singles record in the 2013 campaign. The sophomore out of Oxnard, Calif., has played all 15 matches at No. 1 singles, earning an 8-7 record. She won six matches in a row from Feb. 10 - March 2, all in straight sets. Hedberg, who was an All-Big Sky second-team selection as a freshman in 2012, and has been tabbed as a Big Sky Player of the Week twice in her young career, has a 4-1 record in conference play. Hedberg has also played in the top spot in doubles throughout the year, teaming up with Chelsea Patton and Chrissy Uriarte for an overall record of 7-7 on the season.
- After playing her first eight matches of the year at No. 3 singles, sophomore Chrissy Uriarte was recently moved up in the lineup to No. 2. She won her first two matches in a row at the higher position, and has earned a 3-4 overall mark there. In addition, in Eastern’s last two matches, Uriarte also moved from No. 2 to No. 1 singles, joining Moira Hedberg in the top spot. As freshmen in 2012, Uriarte and Hedberg played as partners for 15 matches, earning a 4-11 record at No. 1.
- Senior Kelsey Knight also has an impressive 4-1 singles record in Big Sky Conference play. Knight has played primarily at No. 4 singles this year, earning wins against Idaho State, Weber State, Northern Colorado and North Dakota. Knight is among the top 10 in school history for career singles wins, ranking ninth with 23. That is only through 2 1/2 seasons on the court though, as Knight was sidelined for two different years with knee injuries.
- Seniors Ryann Warner and Chelsea Patton also appear in the EWU record book for career singles wins. Ryan currently ranks seventh in history with 27, while Patton is 11th with 21.
- Eastern entered the 2013 season with six returning letterwinners, two returning squad members, two returning redshirts and just 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.