October 17, 2010

Men’s Tennis Wraps Up Competition from ITA Regionals

Sanchez and Navarro highlight Eagle performances with first-round wins against UC-Davis

Due to heavy rains in Stanford, Calif., the Eastern Washington University men's tennis team returned home a day early from the 2010 ITA Regionals, but not before turning in some quality competition against a few of the nation's top teams.  

"This tournament had some of the best players collegiate tennis has to offer," said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. "It was good for our guys to face that level of competition. They were able to get some good experience playing people from the Pac-10 and West Coast Conferences."

EWU junior Julian Sanchez celebrated the biggest win of the weekend, as he outlasted UC-Davis' No. 1 player in Nick Lopez. After dropping the first set 7-5, Sanchez fired back to win sets two and three to advance to the round of 64. He took the second set by a score of 7-5 and then closed out the match with a 6-3 decision in the third.

"For Julian to come out and get a win like that was huge," said Haworth. "We lost 7-0 to UC-Davis last year, so I was really proud of his efforts to gut that one out. Julian is probably in the best shape of his life and has been playing really solid tennis for us this fall."

Freshman Mario Navarro also recorded a win over an Aggie in the first round, as he topped George Horowitcz, 6-3, 6-1. In the round of 64, Navarro earned a solid victory in the second set, but ended up dropping the next two to Saint Mary's Joakim Norstrom, who won the match by scores of 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3.

In the singles consolation bracket, sophomore Fernando Mussolini put up a reputable fight against San Francisco's Germaine Bahri. Mussolini won four games in the first set and then forced a tiebreak in the second. Although not able to record the W, his opponent had to work for the 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory.

In doubles play, Navarro and junior Chad Henninger was the only Eagle pair to make it out of the round of 32, as the duo defeated Saint Mary's Gerry Ellison and Matt Weltly, 8-4. The team was then pitted against the No. 2 seed in the bracket in Remi Bouttillier and Rikus DeVilliers from Fresno State. Navarro and Henninger fell to the Bulldogs, 8-1.

Most of the Eagles, who dropped into the consolation bracket after the first few rounds of singles and doubles play, had their tournament run cut short, as the final rounds of consolation play were cancelled due to inclement weather.

The Eagles will compete in their final tournament of the fall season when they travel to the west side of the state for the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiates Nov. 5-7 in Seattle, Wash.

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