April 25, 2009
The Eastern Washington University men’s tennis team is making a return trip to the Big Sky Conference’s championship match for the third straight year and, for the third campaign in a row, the Eagles will face Sacramento State for the title just 16 miles from the Hornets’ campus.
In the semifinal round on Saturday morning (April 25), the Eagles dispatched Montana State, 4-0, while Sacramento State eliminated Montana by an identical 4-0 score. The win for Eastern Washington (18-8) allowed this year’s squad to tie for the school record for wins (at the NCAA Division I level). Last year’s team went 18-7.
Art Karas and Julian Sanchez got the day off to a positive start by teaming up for an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles. Shortly thereafter, Daniel Pez and Pannhara Mam took care of its match on court two by an 8-5 score to clinch the doubles point for Eastern.
In singles play, Kyle Schraeder earned Eastern Washington a 2-0 advantage with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at 4. Pez then finished off his perfect day with a straight-sets 6-4, 6-4 victory on court six, earning the Eagles a dominating 3-0 advantage.
Karas then put an end to the contest with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3. That win extended his school-record career total to 60.
The Eagles and Sacramento State will face off at 10 a.m. on Sunday (April 26) at the Gold River Racquet Club in Gold River, Calif. The winner earns the Big Sky’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, which commences on May 8 with first round action.
In last year’s title match, the Eagles stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Hornets by a 4-3 score to secure its first-ever league title at the Division I level. The year before, Eastern Washington posted its first two postseason wins since joining Division I en route to taking on the Hornets in the final. Sacramento State, however, took that tilt by a 4-0 score.
Both teams will be looking for a measure of revenge on Sunday. Even though the Eagles did claim the title from the Hornets a year ago, Sacramento State dominated Eastern Washington in Cheney by a 7-0 score in this year’s regular-season meeting between the rivals on Feb. 20.
Montana State vs Eastern Washington
Apr 25, 2009 at Gold River, Calif.
(Gold River Racquet Club)
Eastern Washington 4, Montana State 0
1. Riego de Dios, Nico (EWU-M) vs. SMITH, Corey (MSU) 6-1, 0-6, 1-5, unfinished
2. Mam, Pannhara (EWU-M) vs. DYBALA, Jakub (MSU) 6-4, 4-4, unfinished
3. Karas, Art (EWU-M) def. TURZANSKI, Pawel (MSU) 6-4, 6-2
4. Schraeder, Kyle (EWU-M) def. KEYES, Fletcher (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
5. Sanchez, Julian (EWU-M) vs. FUENTES, Alberto (MSU) 6-3, 3-6, 1-1, unfinished
6. Pez, Daniel (EWU-M) def. FERRERO, Esteban (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
1. RIEGO DE DIOS, Nico/SCHRAEDER, Kyle (EWU-M) vs. DYBALA, Jakub/TURZANSKI, Pawel (MSU) 5-6, unfinished
2. PEZ, Daniel/MAM, Pannhara (EWU-M) def. KEYES, Fletcher/SMITH, Corey (MSU) 8-5
3. KARAS, Art/SANCHEZ, Julian (EWU-M) def. PERKINS, Myles/FUENTES, Alberto (MSU) 8-3
Montana State 14-11
Eastern Washington 18-8
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,6,3)
Big Sky Championship - Semifinals