Behind Stellar Performances from Two Freshmen, Eagles Avenge Early-Season Loss to Seattle

Eastern begins weekend with 6-1 loss to Air Force, but rebounds with exciting 4-3 win against Redhawks

The Eastern Washington University women's tennis team was able to gain a measure of revenge this weekend against the Redhawks of Seattle University. After losing to SU in its season opener by a narrow 4-3 margin, Eastern returned the favor on Sunday (March 18) at the Sammamish Club in Issaquah, Wash. The Eagles edged Seattle, 4-3, thanks in large part to a couple inspiring performances by its rookie members.

Freshmen Moira Hedberg and Chrissy Uriarte were flawless in the match, winning together at No. 1 doubles, and individually in singles action.

Sunday's match started with a quick loss for EWU at No. 2 doubles, as juniors Ryann Warner and Rocio Norena fell to SU's Katrina Schwab and Corinne Wurden, 8-1. Eastern was able to quickly get the point back when junior Chelsea Patton and sophomore Kelsey Knight won at No. 3 by a score of 8-4.

With the doubles point hanging in the balance, Hedberg and Uriarte battled in the top spot. It was a nail-biting match that required extra points, but the Eagle duo pulled through with a crucial 9-7 decision.

Hedberg then extended her team's lead to 2-0 when she downed Schwab at No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-3. Patton was the next Eagle to finish, but she unfortunately lost her match at No. 2 to Seattle's Lindsey Newman, 6-1, 6-3.  

Feeding off the momentum from her victory in doubles, Uriarte bested Gabriella Weissman at No. 3 in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.

With three matches still in progress, EWU had earned a 3-1 advantage on the Redhawks But Seattle made it interesting with back-to-back wins at No. 4 and No. 6. Knight dropped a close one to Corinne Wurden at No. 4, 6-4, 7-5, while senior Nefeli Diamanti suffered a similar fate to Nicole Nakaoka at No. 6, losing 7-5, 6-3.

It would come down to Warner, who was playing Sarah Lucas at No. 5. Warner won the first set handily, 6-1. Although she had to work a little harder in the second, Warner got the job done with a 6-4 decision.

With the win against SU, Eastern improved its overall record to 3-9, while becoming one of just two Big Sky schools this season to defeat the Redhawks. Weber State, Idaho State and Portland State had all lost to Seattle earlier in the 2011-12 campaign. Montana beat SU 5-2 on Feb. 12.

The Eagles also played Air Force over the weekend, but fell to a talented Falcons team by a score of 6-1. Air Force is 14-3 on the season.

Hedberg celebrated a big win at No. 1 singles, as she downed Melissa Cecil in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4. Cecil was 9-4 at No. 1 coming into the match. Unfortunately, Hedberg was the only Eagle to come away with a W in the match though.

Urirate showed strength against Tiffany Tran at No. 3, but lost in a competitive three-setter. After Tran took the first set, 6-2, Uriarte battled back for a 6-2 win of her own in the second. But in the decisive third, Tran prevailed, 6-3.

Eastern will next travel to California for a trio of matches over spring break. The Eagles play Big Sky favorite Sacramento State on Friday (March 24), before taking on San Jose State on March 26 and San Francisco on March 27.

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