Eagles fall to WSU 7-0, but turnaround for a win in second match of Friday doubleheader
The Eastern Washington University women's tennis team came away from a long day on the Palouse with one win and one loss. The Eagles fell to Washington State, 7-0 before topping Lewis-Clark State College, 6-1. Eastern has now played six matches in the first seven days of the season.
The Cougars earned a quick 1-0 edge on Eastern after sweeping the doubles matches. Senior Judy Liening and junior Nefeli Diamanti played at No. 1 doubles for the first time in both their careers. The duo fell to WSU's No. 1 pair of Liudmila Vasilieva and Olga Musilovich, 8-3. WSU won both the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles matches by a score of 8-1.
In singles play, sophomore Ryann Warner earned the nod to play at No. 1 for the first time in her career. She was pitted against Vasilieva, who ranked as high as 61 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Poll last season, and earned an at large bid to the 2010 NCAA Women's Tennis Championship. Vasilieva defeated Warner on Friday morning, 6-2, 6-1.
"The score of Ryann's match was not representative of how it was played," said EWU associate head women's coach Dale Silha. "Ryann played a really good match. She played long, hard points and really made her opponent work for the win."
Liening, who was playing at No. 3 singles, had a strong start in her match against WSU's Andjela Kankaras. Lineing jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but Kankaras battled back to win five games in a row to take set 7-5. Kankaras carried that momentum through the second set to top Liening, 6-2.
"Judy was playing lights out for the first few games," said Silha. "She really looked great, but unfortunately, she lost a little of the fire she had to start the match and began playing 'not to lose.' WSU was able to fight back and take the match."
The highlight of the day came at No. 5 singles, as Diamanti was able to nab one of three sets from WSU's Marina Nicolas. Diamanti won the first set 7-5, but could not hold on in the subsequent two, falling 7-5, 1-0 (10-3).
"Nefeli's match was really a battle," said Silha. "She was playing great tennis, but just couldn't get it done in the end."
Against LCSC, Eastern captured the doubles point with victories at No. 1 and No. 2. Diamanti and Liening defeated the Warriors No. 1 pair of Dominka Josova and Miranda Duggan, 8-6, and Patton and Bampton made quick work of Samantha Teigen and Chelsea Gay at No. 2 doubles, winning 8-2.
In singles play, LCSC earned one point after Warner dropped a tight match to Jasova, which included a tiebreaker in the first set. Warner fell 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.
At No. 2 singles, Liening played in her second marathon match of the day, as she was the last to finish in Lewiston after being on the court for nearly three and half hours. Liening lost the first set to LCSC's Clara Schultz (3-6), but then rallied back to take sets two and three, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
"Judy had already seen a lot of court time coming into that match," said Silha. "I was really happy to see her get the win. She was totally wiped out, but she battled through the exhaustion. Schultz was really scrappy and was sending everything back, but I think it's important for our girls to have that experience of playing tired and hurt. You have to learn how to mentally rise above those circumstances, and Judy did that today."
Bampton, Ricks and Diamanti all won their singles matches in straight sets to seal the 6-1 victory for EWU.
Eastern will have a few days to recover before hitting the courts again. The Eagles will next play Portland on Friday (Feb. 4) in Richland, Wash., before returning to Cheney to face Idaho on Sunday (Feb. 6).