Season Ends With 4-2 Loss to Montana in Big Sky Quarterfinals
Sophomores Joseph Cohen and Stefan Farrar pick up lone victories with singles wins
A three-set singles thriller by senior Kyle Koetje ended with a narrow defeat, and the Eastern Washington University men’s tennis team fell to Montana 4-2 Friday (April 26) in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Tennis Championships in Sacramento, Calif.
The sixth-seeded Eagles finished their season 9-13, while No. 3 Montana improved to 10-7 and will play Montana State in Saturday’s semifinals.
“Our players battled their hearts out,” said Eastern head coach Darren Haworth. “We played well and up to our potential. But the credit goes to Montana – they came out and got the job done today. They played great at doubles and then played well in singles.”
Eastern’s lone victories in the match came at No. 1 singles by sophomore Joseph Cohen, and at No. 6 singles by another sophomore, Stefan Farrar. Eastern lost the doubles point and fell at Nos. 3, 4 and 5 singles. The match at No. 2 singles was not finished because the match had already been decided.
The Eagles fell behind 3-0, but wins by Cohen and Farrar pulled EWU within a victory of knotting the match. At No. 3 singles against Michael Facey, Koetje lost the first set 6-3, won the second 6-2 and then fell in the third 6-5.
“He battled tough,” said Haworth of his team’s lone senior. “He was playing in a tough match that could have gone either way against a fellow senior. He’s been such a huge part of the program – it’s great to see him go out and play at such a high level of tennis. He’s done a great job all season long.”
Eastern had five freshmen, four sophomores and one senior on its 2013 roster, and entered the season with just one returning letterwinner in Koetje. He finished his senior season with a 9-13 record in singles and 11-8 in doubles, and won a total of 30 singles matches and another 31 in doubles in his career.
Cohen improved to 14-3 overall in singles with Friday’s win. He finished the year by winning 12-straight singles matches, including a perfect 8-0 in the Big Sky at No. 1 singles. He was also 9-9 in double competition.
Eastern played its final three matches of the season without injured No. 2 singles player Eduardo Martinez. Martinez, a sophomore from Mexico City, Mexico, suffered a season-ending dislocated kneecap on April 6.
“The experience to come here and play this way was great,” added Haworth. “Joseph and Stefan played very well to get wins for us, and the rest of our team ran into very solid Montana players. The competition they faced will help our team in the future. Overall it was a valuable experience for our team.”
More Season Notes
- Senior Kyle Koetje closed his career as one of the top players in school history. He has 30 victories in his career to rank 10th in school history, and he also has recorded 31 doubles victories. He and freshman Tomas Aranguiz combined for nine doubles victories this season to rank 11th on EWU’s single season list. Koetje is also expected to finish his career as a four-time member of the Big Sky All-Academic squad.
- The Eagles finished the season with seven victories in their last 11 matches. On April 12, Eastern was edged by Montana 4-3. From March 2 to March 28 the Eagles won six matches in a row -- tying their longest winning streak since the 2009 season.
- Sophomore Joseph Cohen finished 14-3 on the season in singles, and his victory total ranks 10th all-time at EWU in a single season. He earned Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors twice this year. The most recent award came after EWU’s pair of home matches against Montana State (3/1) and Northern Colorado (3/2), in which Cohen went 2-0 at No. 1 singles. Cohen was also named POW on Jan. 29 after another 2-0 weekend at No. 1 singles, which included a big win against nationally-ranked Oregon.
- EWU was particularly strong this year at the top of its singles lineup. Led by sophomore Joseph Cohen, the Eagles were 16-5 in dual matches at No. 1 singles. Cohen earned 14 of those wins, while the recently-injured Eduardo Martinez picked up the other two.
- An integral part of the EWU lineup before suffering a season-ending dislocated kneecap injury, Eduardo Martinez had played 15 of 17 matches this year alongside Joseph Cohen at No. 1 doubles and was Eastern’s steady No. 2 in singles. Martinez had earned a singles record of 9-6 before the injury and combined with Cohen for a 7-8 record in doubles. “Obviously it’s a big loss to the team,” said head coach Darren Haworth. “Eduardo was one of our best doubles players, so it impacts us a little bit there. But this gives a couple guys an opportunity to prove themselves at new positions. I think in the big picture, it’s good for other players to get this kind of experience playing higher in the lineup. That will help our team in the future.”