Feb. 11, 2008
The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team will play host to Gonzaga in a rivalry contest at 5 p.m. on Tuesday (Feb. 12). The contest will serve as Eastern's final one before the commencement of Big Sky Conference play on Feb. 22 at Montana State.
The Bulldogs and Eagles always play some of the most intense tennis seen in the Spokane area against each other, and this week's contest will surely be no different.
"Playing against Gonzaga is always an emotional match," interim head coach Darren Haworth said. "They're going to come to play, and I know they want to beat us as much as we want to beat them.
"It will just be a matter of each person being focused on his own court and not worried about what is going on on the courts nearby. The matches get really intense, so we've been working on making sure the players are focused on the match on hand."
Haworth and the Eastern players are hoping the Eastern community will come out to support the Eagles.
"It would be great to have as many fans there as possible to help support such a big match against our rival school," Haworth said.
The Eagles are coming off two straight wins, having defeated both Nevada and Whitman on Feb. 2 (5-2 and 7-0, respectively) to move to 2-2 on the season.
Gonzaga is off to a 3-3 start on its season. The victories came over Whitworth, Lewis-Clark State and Whitman, while the defeats were to No. 37 Washington, Arizona and Nevada.
When the teams met last year in Cheney, the match was so close that the rivals split the 188 games played, 94-94. Gonzaga was able to escape with a 5-2 win, although the Eagles returned the favor a week later on the GU campus, prevailing by an identical 5-2 score.
The Gonzaga contest will be the last time the Eagles will play at home until Idaho State arrives in Cheney for a Big Sky match on March 1. Eastern Washington will play Montana State, Lewis-Clark State and Montana State-Billings on Feb. 22-24, respectively. Each of those contests will take place in Bozeman, Mont.
Eastern Washington began its season with an impressive 4-3 loss on the road to 66th-ranked BYU.
Against the nationally-ranked Cougars, the Eagles earned the doubles point after Art Karas and Nico Riego de Dios clinched it with a clutch 9-8 (11-9) victory on court two. Singles play saw a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 5 by Kenneth Norling pull the Eagles to within one at 3-2.
Pannhara Mam had a great showing in the loss to Oregon, as he earned a 7-5, 4-6, (10-8) win at No. 1 singles and a tight 9-8 loss at No. 1 doubles (with Kyle Schraeder). Jonathan Davis and Patrick Millican picked up a victory on court three during doubles play, 9-8.
Where's the Match?
This time of the year, the Eagles are assured of playing each of their home matches indoors at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse, which is located directly to the south of Reese Court, the home for Eastern's volleyball and basketball teams. It is located on the bottom floor of the facility right behind the racquetball courts.
When the weather warms up, contests will take place at the outside Sports and Recreation Center tennis courts, located between the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse and the varsity soccer field.
All Over the Career Records Charts
Of the nine players in Eagle men's tennis history to earn 20 singles wins (dating to 1989), four of them are on the 2008 squad.
Pannhara Mam is in the second spot on the charts, as he has earned 29 wins in his career. Patrick Millican and Art Karas are just behind him with 27 apiece, while Kyle Schraeder has tallied 23 wins, good enough to tie for the sixth spot.
In doubles play, Mam and Schraeder have teamed up for 17 wins to take over the top spot in the career chart in that category. Jonathan Davis and Millican are tied for second on that chart with 14 victories.
Top-Notch Schedule for Eagles in 2008
The Eagles are taking on top-notch competition this year, playing five matches versus top-75 opponents.
After playing No. 68 BYU in a 4-3 road loss on Jan. 19, the Eagles are set to play No. 38 Washington and No. 74 Fresno State on March 14 and 26, respectively. Portland, an Eastern opponent on both April 5 (in Portland) and 13 (in Cheney), is currently ranked 75th.
The lone nationally-ranked singles player scheduled to take on an Eagle is No. 92 Rudolf Siwy of Fresno State.