Eastern battles through several tough tiebreakers in loss to familiar non-conference rival
The Eastern Washington University men’s tennis team continues to struggle against the WCC's Portland Pilots. In a home match on Friday (Feb. 15) at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, the Eagles fell to UP, 6-1.
The loss was EWU’s third-straight against the Pilots, as Eastern is now 3-32 all-time against the non-conference foe. With the loss, the Eags drop to 2-5 in the 2013 campaign, while Portland improves to 5-2.
“Portland is a very good team,” said EWU head coach Darren Haworth. “But we didn’t bring the same intensity into this match that we had in our win against Seattle last weekend, and it showed. That is all part of the learning curve with our young freshmen and sophomores - you have to be able to bring a high level of intensity in every match.”
Portland earned the coveted doubles point after taking the match at No. 1, 8-3, and winning at No. 2, 8-4.
In singles, three different Eagles battled in tiebreakers, but the Pilots had the edge in each of them.
At No. 1, sophomore Joseph Cohen certainly made his opponent work, but in the end was upended by UP's Ratan Gill, 7-5, 7-6 (4).
Freshman Tomas Aranguiz forced a tiebreaker in his opening set, but could not hold on against Portland’s Michel Hu Kwo, losing 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Freshman Luke Thompson was the only Eagle to win a set on Friday, as he prevailed in a first-set tiebreaker at No. 5. Thompson gained the early advantage after a 7-6 (5) win in the opener. But UP’s Kent Andreasen charged back for a 6-3 win in the second and a 10-7 decision in the matchbreaker.
“Portland did a great job of not making many mistakes,” said Haworth. “They have always been a very intelligent team every time we’ve played them. They train hard in a great facility and their coaches do a good job of reinforcing high-percentage tennis with their players.”
Senior Kyle Koetje and freshman Eduard Bringold both lost in straight sets in their matches at No. 3 and 4, respectively.
Portland was only able to field five players in singles, thus conceding one point by default to EWU.
The Eagles will be back in action on Tuesday (Feb. 19) to take on another West Coast Conference opponent in Gonzaga. Eastern will play the Zags at 5 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.