April 9, 2007
The Eastern Washington Eagles (10-7) will complete the home portion of their schedule this week with four matches. The first one will be against rival Gonzaga at 3 p.m. on Tuesday (April 10), while the Eagles take on both Whitman and Idaho on Saturday. The first contest will begin at 9 a.m. with the second one to commence five hours later. The final home match will be at 9 a.m. on Sunday against Portland.
The Eagles should be well rested for this packed week, as Eastern has not played a competitive match since finishing off a 5-1 road trip on March 30, a 10-day break from matches.
On that trip, Eastern Washington went 3-0 in Big Sky Conference matches to finish its conference season at 5-2, the first winning league mark in school history (the previous high-water mark came last season at 3-3). The Eagles are currently in second place in the league standings.
Looking at Gonzaga
The Bulldogs are coming off a 13th-place finish at the Boise State Red Lion Spring Break Tournament and will enter their match with Eastern at 8-12 on the season.
Gonzaga is 3-0 versus Big Sky Conference competition in 2007, defeating Montana in Cheney, 4-3, Montana State on the road, 4-2, and Weber State in Boise, 4-3. The Bulldogs are 0-5 against West Coast Conference schools.
Looking at Whitman
The Whitman Missionaries, a member of the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference, are coming off three straight 9-0 victories (Division III counts all three doubles matches as one point apiece, while Division I only awards just one point for the doubles contests).
Whitman enters this week's play with a stellar 21-4 mark and a perfect 15-0 record in NWC play.
Looking at Idaho
Idaho is 6-12 and will take on Gonzaga in Spokane the night before playing the Eagles. The Vandals went 2-2 at the Boise State Red Lion Spring Break Tournament before falling to Montana, 4-3. In total, Idaho is 3-2 versus Big Sky Conference teams and 0-4 against Western Athletic Conference competition.
Looking at Portland
The Pilots went 2-2 at the Boise State Red Lion Spring Break Tournament and will enter the week with a 10-6 record. UP completed its play in the tournament with a 6-1 loss to Big Sky Conference regular-season champion Sacramento State. Portland is currently 2-0 against Big Sky Conference teams and 3-1 versus West Coast Conference squads.
In the first meeting between Eastern Washington and Portland on March 18, the Pilots pulled away for a 5-2 win in their final home contest of the season. The Eagles were, however, able to secure wins in the No. 1 singles and doubles positions in the contest.
Erickson played No. 1 singles and split doubles time between the 1 and 2 positions his freshman campaign. His sophomore campaign, he was named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic Team.
Garfield is a transfer from Jacksonville University who also played the vast majority of his singles matches his initial season at Eastern in the No. 1 position (17 of 20). He also played all 18 doubles contests in that position, as well. Garfield is currently 1-1 this season in No. 6 singles and 0-2 in No. 2 doubles (with Nico Riego de Dios).
The Eagles will play their final home match of the season at the end of a four-match home stand, at 9 a.m. on Sunday (April 15) versus Portland.
School Records in Sight
Pannhara Mam is moving up the single-season Eastern Washington school-record chart for singles wins in a season, as his current total of 12 is just one away from the school record of 13, set by Sean McGoffin in 1990 and met by Brian Hart in 1996. He and Kyle Schraeder have also teamed up for 10 doubles victories, which is tied for second on that chart, trailing the 12 earned by Ryan Moran and Shane Stiner in 1999.
In his career, Mam has earned 24 victories, good for third place on that chart, while Patrick Millican is right behind him at 23. Art Karas is tied for seventh with 20 victories, while Schraeder's 18 place him in a tie for the 10th slot.
Mam and Schraeder's 10 doubles wins this season also places the duo in third place on the career doubles wins chart, trailing Moran and Stiner's 12-win campaign of 1999 and Dean Kimoto and Moran's two-year stretch of 2000-01, when the two won 14 contests (seven each season).
All of these records are for dual-match contests only and go back to 1989, as records prior to that season are incomplete. Complete listings can be viewed on page 3 of the notes package available above in PDF format.
A Successful Road Trip
The Eagles started off its epic 3,229-mile road trip with a perfect 3-0 weekend, which including a pair of important Big Sky Conference victories. It started with a clutch 4-3 win over Weber State on March 23. Eastern rallied from losing the doubles point to win a match for the first time in 2007 (the Eagles entered the contest 0-6 in matches where they lost the doubles point). The team result rested with the No. 1 singles contest, where Pannhara Mam battled Fabio Mancarella with the team score tied, 3-3, and pulled away from the Wildcat to win a close three-set match, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
The dramatic weekend continued with another 4-3 win over Utah State. For the second day in a row, the team result came down to a single singles contest with the score tied, 3-3. This time it was Patrick Millican's turn to earn the dramatic victory, outlasting Dantley Young on the fourth court by 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 scores.
The weekend concluded with a dominating 7-0 win over Idaho State. After the Eagles took 2-of-3 doubles contests to earn the doubles tally, Eastern turned on the afterburners to win all six singles contests in resounding fashion. No Eagle allowed more than four games as all six Eastern players earned straight-set wins.
The Big Sky Conference portion of the road trip concluded with a clutch 4-3 win over Northern Arizona. Two singles players rallied from one set down to earn Eastern's third and fourth points and an insurmountable 5-0 lead. At No. 1 singles, Mam earned a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Gareth Ducray, while Daniel Pez rallied for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 win against Jeff Morys on the fourth court. The Eagles would rally to win the match after losing the doubles point for the second straight occurrence.
The Eagles concluded its conference season with a winning mark at 5-2 for the first time in school history. The previous high-water mark came in 2006, when Eastern went 3-3 in league play. To put that remarkable record in perspective, the Eagles earned just four wins in its initial nine years of Big Sky play (4-53) before going 7-5 combined so far the last two years.
Even more impressive, Eastern Washington completed the road portion of its league schedule with a perfect 4-0 mark.
The trip concluded with a pair of non-conference matches, which saw Eastern defeat a top-notch junior college team in Scottsdale CC, 4-3, and fall to New Mexico State, 6-1.
The victory over SCC earned Eastern its 10th win of the season, marking the second straight season that EWU has hit the 10-win mark and just the second time since the 1985 squad went 13-10. The 2006 and 1985 teams are also the last two to record winning records. The victory was secured with a clutch 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win by Jonathan Davis on the sixth court in his first competitive match since Nov. 11.
With a combined 20-15 record in 2006 and 2007 combined, the Eagles have outnumbered the number of wins earned in the previous nine years combined (19-111).
Big Sky Player of the Week Honors Go to Mam
Earning Co-Big Sky Player of the Week accolades for his performances in the second half of Eastern Washington's six-match road trip was Pannhara Mam, as he went 2-1 in both singles and doubles play to lead the Eagles as a team to an identical mark in their three matches that week.
Mam helped lead the Eagles to a school-record fifth Big Sky Conference win of the season, 4-3 over Northern Arizona, on March 27. Eastern went 5-2 this season in league play, surpassing its previous best season of 3-3 last year. In singles play against NAU, Mam earned the clinching fourth team point with an impressive 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory over Northern Arizona's top player, Gareth Ducray.
Versus Scottsdale CC the next day, he won easily at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2, and also teamed with Daniel Pez for an 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles.
In Eastern's 6-1 loss to New Mexico State, which finished off a grueling 3,229-mile six-match road trip for the Eagles, he and Kyle Schraeder won at No. 1 doubles, 8-3. That would be one of only two wins on the day for the Eagles. He also saw his nine-match singles winning streak finally come to an end after a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 loss to NMSU's No. 1 player, Gustave Diep.
On the season, Mam is 18-6 in singles, 12-5 in the dual-match season and 9-5 in the No. 1 position. He is 11-6 in No. 1 doubles, 13-7 overall in doubles play.
Mam earned the weekly honors once last year and became the second Eagle this season to be named, as Schraeder earned the accolades on Feb. 28. Mam shared this week's honors with Sacramento State's Anton Stryhas.
Mam has Perfect 4-0 Weekend Versus UO, UP
Pannhara Mam had an outstanding weekend for the Eagles on Eastern Washington's trip to Oregon and Portland over March 17-18, as he defeated both teams' top singles players along with their best doubles tandems (teaming up with Kyle Schraeder for those wins).
Against Oregon, he and Schraeder won, 8-5, while Mam won a clutch first set and pulled away in the second, 7-6 (10-8), 6-1. Versus Portland, Mam and Schraeder won, 8-3, while in singles, Mam rallied from a first-set loss for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
The Eagles won a match on Feb. 24 which reverberated across the Big Sky Conference and Northwest tennis world, as Eastern Washington toppled three-time defending Big Sky champion Montana State, 5-2. The win ended a 27-match winless streak against the Bobcats dating to an 8-1 win in 1979. In fact, the five team points scored in that lone contest matched the total earned by Eastern in its last 20 meetings combined with Montana State (EWU was outscored, 129-5, in those contests).
The Eagles set the tone with convincing 8-2 wins in the first two doubles matches to finish play and were able to sweep all three doubles contests. The victory was secured when Patrick Millican attained Eastern's fourth team point with a straight-sets 6-3, 7-5 win over Igor Vuckovic on the fifth court.
Big Sky POW Honors for Schraeder
Kyle Schraeder had a big hand in Eastern Washington's historic 5-2 win over Montana State on Feb. 24, as he dominated opponents in both singles and doubles matches.
Teaming with Pannhara Mam in No. 1 doubles, the pair defeated Montana State's top team in resounding fashion, 8-2, in the first doubles contest to finish play. The win was the pair's fifth in a row. He then kept that momentum going, as he was the first player to leave the court in singles play after he finished off a convincing 6-1, 6-3 win over Zachery Buenger at No. 2. That gave Eastern a commanding 2-0 lead on its way to the win.
Mam earned Big Sky POW honors last year, while the last Eagle to do so prior to him was Aaron Heier in 2002.
Eastern's Successful Trip to Colorado
The Eagles opened up Big Sky play on Jan. 27 by defeating Northern Colorado, 7-0, in Greeley.
Eastern Washington was able to claim wins in every singles match in straight sets. The Eagles began the match by winning 2-of-3 doubles contests to earn the doubles point and gain momentum heading into singles play.
Also on the trip, the Eagles defeated Air Force, 6-1. That was Eastern's first win of the season after dropping its first two contests. In the contest, EWU rallied from losing the first doubles match to win the other two, each of them in tiebreakers, 9-8. That momentum propelled Eastern Washington to win the first three singles matches to finish to quickly clinch the team win.
The trip started with a tough-fought 4-0 loss to then-No. 66 Denver.
Top-Notch Schedule for Eagles in 2007
The Eagles are coming off an impressive 2006 season (10-8) and are taking on top-notch competition this year. Eastern has four matches scheduled versus top-75 competition, including three against top-50 squads.
The Eagles will open and close its regular-season slate with a nationally-ranked opponent. The season began with 6-1 and 4-0 losses to then-18th-ranked Washington and No. 62 Denver, respectively (the teams are currently ranked 33rd and 47th, respectively).
Eastern Washington previously played the current 73rd-ranked team in the country, Sacramento State, 6-1, on Feb. 10.
The Eagles will close out its regular season with a match against No. 21 Boise State on April 21 in Idaho's capital city.
There are three ranked singles players on Eastern's schedule (based on ITA rankings released on April 3). Eastern's No. 1 singles player, Pannhara Mam, has already played No. 21 Adam Holmstrom of Denver. Upcoming for a pair of Eastern singles player will be No. 12 Luke Shields and 62nd-ranked Clancy Shields, both of Boise State.
In doubles, an Eagles doubles team will play Boise State's 52nd-ranked duo of Luke Shields and Piotr Dilaj, while Mam and Kyle Schraeder previously played No. 54 Holmstrom and Niklas Persson of Denver.
Updated national rankings will be released on Tuesday (April 10) and can be accessed at www.itatennis.com under the "Fila Rankings" tab on the left side of the home page. Team rankings are updated every Tuesday, while singles and doubles rankings are updated every two weeks (the next one will occur on April 17).
Newcomers to the Eagle Tennis Family
There are some new staff additions to the Eagle tennis programs. Darren Haworth and Jan Steenekamp will now serve as assistant coaches, while Jeff Kawaguchi is now the strength and conditioning coach.
Haworth has experience with Dreves, as he played for the Eagle head coach at Linfield and helped lead the Wildcats to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. He would serve as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 2002-03 and, for the past year, served as men's and women's head coach at Fresno City College.
Steenekamp is a former No. 1 singles player for Montana who earned first team All-Big Sky honors three times.
"He is one of the top players maybe ever in the Big Sky," head coach Patrick Dreves said.
Kawaguchi currently acts as an assistant athletic trainer within the EWU athletics department and works directly with the women's basketball team. He serves as an assistant professor in the Athletic Training Education Program at EWU, as well.
"Because he is a physical therapist, he understands both sides of it, not pushing kids too hard, but also understanding if they have nagging injuries," Dreves said.