Hedberg wins in both singles and doubles against Pilots, while Filliol picks up first win of her Eagle career against nationally-ranked Ducks
The Eastern Washington University women’s tennis team continues to be tested in the early-goings of its 2013 season. After facing No. 60 Wyoming in its season opener, EWU played its second-straight nationally-ranked opponent in No. 66 Oregon this weekend in Eugene, Ore. The Eagles dropped the match to the Ducks by a score of 6-1. EWU then played Portland, suffering the same 6-1 fate against the Pilots.
“In talking with the team after the match, we definitely feel like we'’ve improved from our first outing against Wyoming, and they are all starting progress with their match toughness,” said EWU interim head coach Dustin Hinson. “Right now, it’s a matter of having played some really tough teams. But the girls have kept their spirits high, and we are looking forward to getting into conference play.”
Although dropping to 0-3 on the season with the two losses in Eugene, the Eagles did see some encouraging individual wins over the weekend, as sophomores Moira Hedberg and Alexis Filliol both picked up their first victories of the year. Hedberg was perfect against the Pilots, winning both her matches at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles, while Filliol recorded a win against Oregon playing at No. 6 singles.
In the top doubles spot, Hedberg, with partner Chelsea Patton, downed UP’s Anastasia Polyakova and Sabine Fuchs, 8-5. Hedberg then faced Maja Mladenovic in a competitive match at No. 1 singles.
Hedberg won the first set handily, 6-1, but Mladenovic charged back for a 6-2 win in the second. Hedberg was able to hang on for a solid 6-3 win in the third for her first W of the season.
“Moira fights hard in every single match, which is something I really like about her game,” said Hinson. “She really played well. She is vocal and encouraging to her teammates, and I was really proud of her performance.”
Although EWU won the match at No. 1 doubles, the team fell behind early after dropping two close ones at No. 2 and No. 3.
“Portland was a tough team,” said Hinson. “I think they have improved a lot from last year, and have some talented players in their lineup. We had a lot of close points and games that could have been even closer. At No. 2 doubles, we were right there to win it, but we had gotten off to a slow start, and by the time we were figuring it out, it was just a little too late. But even though we lost the doubles point, we learned a lot in those matches that will help us in the future.”
Sophomore Chrissy Uriarte and senior Kelsey Knight played two tough matches at No. 3 and 4 singles, respectively. The two won a combined 15 games, but didn’t have quite enough to get past the Pilots.
Uriarte fell to Saroop Dhatt, 7-5, 6-2, while Knight was edged by Tori Droesch, 6-3, 7-5.
“Kelsey came very close to winning that second set,” said Hinson. “She fought extremely hard, and stayed really positive through the whole thing.”
Against the nationally-ranked Ducks, EWU suffered straight-set losses in five of the six singles matches. But Filliol at No. 6 played a great match against Lena Macomson, beating the Pac-12 opponent, 6-4, 6-0, for her first win as an Eagle.
“There were definitely some positives to take out of the weekend,” said Hinson. “Lexi had a big win at No. 6, going in and beating a junior from Oregon. The biggest thing we are going to work on as we look ahead to conference is having more confidence in our shots and focusing on fishing points. We have done a great job in practice, but when we get into a match, I think some nerves and tightness come into play. We are just going to work on that aspect a lot in practice - finding the confidence and mental toughness to play the way we know we can.”
EWU will have nearly two weeks off before its next match on Feb. 8, but it is another tough agaisnt yet another ranked opponent. The Eagles take on No. 57 Sacramento State in the 2013 Big Sky Conference debut. First serve from Cheney is scheduled for 5 p.m.