Eagles Down Portland State, 5-2, for First Big Sky Win of Season
Eastern wins second-straight match, while freshman Hedberg remains undefeated in conference duals
The Eastern Washington University women's tennis team celebrated an important road win on Friday (March 9) when it defeated Big Sky foe Portland State, 5-2, at Club Green Meadows in Vancouver, Wash.
Eastern, which lost its first six matches to start the 2012 season, has now won two in a row.
"After getting our first win last week against Lewis-Clark, we really wanted to keep moving forward," said EWU head women's coach Mykala Hedberg. "You could tell the girls really wanted to go out and win this one. Portland State was a good team though, and they came out fighting and hungry for a win as well."
Like Eastern, Portland State had had a tough start to the season. The Vikings were 2-9 heading into the match and 0-4 in conference play. But PSU had won the most recent meeting with EWU - a 5-2 decision in Cheney during the 2011 season.
The Eagles took an early lead on Friday after capturing the coveted doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3. Freshmen Moira Hedberg and Chrissy Uriarte won in the top spot over PSU's Audrey Farr and Marti Pellicano, 8-5. Eastern's junior pair of Rocio Norena and Ryann Warner won by the same score at No. 3 against Alexa McDonald and Nayanatara Vadali.
In singles action, Hedberg, who has played all but one match in her rookie season at No. 1, extended her flawless Big Sky record to 2-0. She boasts a winning 5-3 singles record on the season.
Hedberg dominated her opponent in the first set, winning by a score of 6-1. The second set was a bit more competitive, but Hedberg prevailed in a tiebreaker over Farr, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7).
"We do have high expectations for Moira because she is a good player," said Hedberg - the older sister of Moira. "But she has really done a great job handling the pressure and controlling what she can out on the court."
Uriarte also won in her singles match at No. 4, as she cruised past McDonald in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.
With Eastern up 3-1 in the match, junior Chelsea Patton was able to seal the deal for EWU when she outlasted her opponent in an arduous three-setter at No. 2.
Patton took the first set, 7-5, but PSU's Pellicano was able to battle back for a 6-3 victory in the second. In the decisive third, Patton found herself down 5-4, but the junior from Boise, Idaho, held on for an exciting 7-5 win.
"This was a very close match, and could have easily swung the other way," said Hedberg. "There were tiebreakers and a couple of matches in third sets all being played at the same time. Portland State was definitely battling, but our team just did a great job of staying calm under pressure and supporting one another on the court. I was really proud of our teamwork."
Norena also prevailed in a marathon match at No. 6. She dropped her opening set, 6-2, but charged back in the second for a dominant 6-1 win. She kept it up in the matchbreaker, winning 10-2.
Warner, and sophomore Kelsey Knight, were the only two Eagles to endure a loss on Friday. Portland State's Marina Todd edged Warner in three sets at No. 5, 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, while Knight lost to Megan Govi at No. 3, 6-2, 6-2.
Eastern will have two more matches this weekend before returning to Cheney. The Eags play Portland today in the Rose City before heading to Eugene to face Oregon on Sunday (March 11).
Eastern Washington 5, Portland State 2
03/09/12 at Vancouver, Wash. (Club Green Meadows)
1. HEDBERG, Moira (EWU-W) def. FARR, Audrey (PSU) 6-1, 7-6 (9-7)
2. PATTON, Chelsea (EWU-W) def. PELLICANO, Marti (PSU) 7-5, 3-6, 7-5
3. GOVI, Megan (PSU) def. KNIGHT, Kelsey (EWU-W) 6-2, 6-2
4. URIARTE, Chrissy (EWU-W) def. MCDONALD, Alexa (PSU) 6-3, 6-0
5. TODD, Marina (PSU) def. WARNER, Ryann (EWU-W) 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4
6. NORENA, Rocio (EWU-W) def. VADALI, Nayanatara (PSU) 2-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-2)
1. HEDBERG, Moira/URIARTE, Chrissy (EWU-W) def. FARR, Audrey/PELLICANO, Marti (PSU) 8-5
2. GOVI, Megan/TODD, Marina (PSU) def. KNIGHT, Kelsey/PATTON, Chelsea (EWU-W) 8-5
3. WARNER, Ryann/NORENA, Rocio (EWU-W) def. MCDONALD, Alexa/VADALI, Nayanatara (PSU) 8-5
Eastern Washington 2-6, 1-1 BSC
Portland State 2-10, 0-5 BSC
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,3,1,2,5,6)