Men’s Tennis Debuts This Weekend with EWU Fall Classic

Eagles looking to get as much match experience as possible in competitive three-day tournament



The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team will kick-off its 2011 fall season this weekend with the EWU Fall Classic in Cheney, Wash.

The tournament is a three-day event featuring individuals from nine different schools around Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Match play begins at 9 a.m. on Friday (Sept. 23) and will continue on Saturday (Sept. 24) and Sunday (Sept. 25) on the EWU Sports and Recreation Center tennis courts.

"This is going to be a really solid event," said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. "We have a few teams coming in that have never been to the event before, like Boise State and Oregon. It's one of the biggest draws we've ever seen at our fall-opener."

In addition to the Broncos and Ducks, the Eagles will welcome Seattle U, Gonzaga, Idaho, Lewis-Clark State and Big Sky rival, Montana.

"The purpose for our team this weekend is to just get as many matches in as possible," said Haworth. "I'm not concerned as much with the results, but more how the guys are playing and what kind of physical shape we are in heading into the season. I'll use this weekend to evaluate what kind of adjustments we need to make on the court."

All seven of EWU's returning letterwinners will be in action, including seniors Chad Henninger, Julian Sanchez, Stefan Simikic and Eastern's No. 1 returner from a year ago, sophomore Mario Navarro.

Eastern's outstanding young doubles duo of Chris Eriksson and James Russell will also be on the courts this weekend. In the 2010 season, Eriksson and Russell garnered a 13-2 overall record playing at No. 3 doubles, and 7-1 mark in Big Sky Conference action. Their 13 wins in 2011 tied the fourth-best single-season performance of any doubles team in school history, and was the best overall record of all doubles teams in the conference.

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