The Eastern Washington men's tennis team concluded its 2014 campaign with a pair of tough road losses to the Montana schools this weekend, narrowly missing out on a spot in the Big Sky Championship.
Eastern (9-13, 4-6 Big Sky) nearly defeated Montana State, 4-3, on Friday, Apr. 18, before falling to Montana, 6-1, on Saturday, Apr. 19.
The Eagles came out strong against the Bobcats on Friday, winning the doubles point in exciting fashion. Freshman Robert Dula and sophomore Luke Thompson beat MSU's top pair, 8-7, while sophomore Eduardo Bringold and freshman Wacil Bendjelti were victorious in the No. 3 position, 8-6.
Dula backed up his doubles win with a victory in the top singles spot, cruising past Montana State's Niklas Brandes 6-4, 6-0. Freshman Rendell Burghart also picked up a singles win in the No. 6 position, defeating Kenny Dodd 6-4, 6-4.
Montana State would win the remaining singles matches, however, to steal the victory.
It was Eastern's third 4-3 loss on the year. The Eagles are 4-3 in matches decided by a single point.
"I thought we played really well against Montana State," head coach Darren Haworth said. "We just missed out on a few big points that swung the match in their favor."
Against Montana on Saturday, the Grizzlies easily won the doubles point before claiming five singles matches to win handily. Freshman Robert Dula was a bright spot for EWU, earning his sixth consecutive singles victory over UM's No. 1 player 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-3).
Eastern finishes its season in seventh place in the Big Sky standings, just missing out on a bid to the conference championship for the first time since the 2011 season.