Feb. 13, 2008
After opening the 2008 regular season with four straight matches versus nationally-ranked opponents, the Eastern Washington University women's tennis team will open its Big Sky Conference slate on Saturday (Feb. 16).
In fact, the Eagles will be playing matches on three consecutive days in the Rose City this weekend, as Eastern takes on Portland on Friday (Feb. 15) and UC Riverside on Sunday (Feb. 17). All three contests will commence at 9 a.m.
Eastern Washington is looking for a fresh start to its campaign after dropping four successive 7-0 decisions to elite competition.
Portland is off to a 3-5 start with the three wins coming over Linfield (7-0), Weber State (6-1) and Gonzaga (5-2). Friday will mark its eighth home match of the season.
Portland State is in the midst of its first season since the program was dropped six years ago and has been playing well, compiling a 1-1 Big Sky mark. The Vikings, 1-3 overall, are coming off a clutch 4-3 win over Weber State on Saturday (Feb. 9).
UC Riverside is 2-1 after losing to San Diego State, 6-1, and defeating Cal Poly Pomona, 6-1, and Cal State Bakersfield, 7-0.
But the focus of the weekend for Eastern will be the league contest with Portland State.
"We're excited to get Big Sky Conference play started," interim head coach Darren Haworth said. "Portland State is going to be tough - it is going to be a tough match for us, and we need to rise to the occasion."
The Record Books Get Rewritten
Four Eagles are among the top seven on the Eastern Washington career singles wins chart. Kasey Knox is third with 28 victories, while Kerstyn Dolack has 24, good for fourth. In sixth is Rachel Berger (19), and she is followed by Amanda Mankovits (17).
Top-Notch Schedule for Eagles in 2008
The Eagles are taking on top competition in 2008, as five nationally-ranked squads are on the slate, including four straight right off the bat. In addition to its matches on Jan. 19 with No. 50 Washington State and on Jan. 27 with 70th-ranked Washington, the Eagles took on No. 42 Boise State on Saturday (Feb. 9) and 67th-ranked Utah on Sunday (Feb. 10).
Down the line, the Eagles will face 59th-ranked Sacramento State on March 27.
Also, three nationally-ranked singles players are scheduled to take on Eagles, as is one doubles squad. No. 91 Ekaterina Burduli of Washington State defeated Kasey Knox, 6-3, 6-2, on Jan. 19, while Bianca Jochimsen of Boise State (No. 81) defeated Sarah Leuenberger, 6-1, 6-3, on Saturday.
No. 63 Katrina Zheltova of Sacramento State is scheduled to take on Eagle opponents on March 27, most likely Knox.
In doubles play, the 40th-ranked team of Polina Kokoulina and Pichitira Thongdach of Boise State topped Knox and Amanda Mankovits, 8-2, on Saturday.