Eagles Fall in Hard-Fought Battle with Vandals, 7-0
Eastern wins at No. 1 doubles, and forces four three-set matches in singles, but Vandals prevail on their home courts
The final score may read 7-0, but this match was in fact one of the more competitive outings of the year for the Eastern Washington University women’s team. In a midweek matchup between two familiar rivals, the Vandals of Idaho managed to outlast EWU for a 7-0 victory on Wednesday (March 6) at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.
While Eastern failed to get on the scoreboard, the Eagles certainly put up a strong fight against their future conference rival, forcing four three-set matches in singles, as well as battling through three tiebreakers.
"This was definitely a close match, and I'm happy with some of the things we saw, but I really think we should have won at least a couple of them," said EWU head coach Dustin Hinson. "We will just focus on the positives moving forward and use it as a learning experience."
Sophomore Moira Hedberg and senior Chelsea Patton picked up the only win of the night for EWU when they edged UI’s Constance Alexander and Almuden Sanz at No. 1 doubles, 8-6.
The Vandals went on to capture the doubles point though with an 8-2 win at No. 2 and 8-1 decision at No. 3.
In singles, Eastern’s top three players all battled to three-setters, while two of those matches also had tiebreakers.
"We looked great at the start of singles," said Hinson. 'We were ahead in each of the first three matches actually, but it seemed like we lost a little bit of focus, and then things all started to unravel at once. The Kibbie Dome is a tough place to play, but I think we got a little tight and then lost confidence. It was a lot of mental stuff."
Coming in to this contest riding a six-match winning streak at No. 1, Hedberg was pitted against Victoria Lozano in the top spot. Lozano was able to squeak out a win in the first set, 7-6 (3). But Hedberg evened the score with a 6-3 victory in the second. In the decisive third, Hedberg was just overpowered, as Lozano won it, 6-1.
Sophomore Chrissy Uriarte also dropped her opening set at No. 2 singles, but was able to force three when she earned a 6-2 decision in the second set. But again, Idaho had the edge in the third, winning by a score of 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Matched up for the second time against Alexander, senior Chelsea Patton actually won her first set at No. 3, 6-4. But Alexander prevailed in a nail-biting tiebreaker in the second, 7-6 (5), and then used that momentum to finish it off with a 6-1 decision in the third.
Senior Rocio Norena also had her match at No. 5 go to three sets, but after a strong start against UI's Beaty Flores, Norena was edged, 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5).
"Ro probably played the best I've seen her play all season," said Hinson. "She looked really strong, but after that first set, her opponent really started playing well too and she was just not able to get it done."
Playing at No. 4, senior Ryann Warner was one of just two Eagles to not endure a three-setter, but she did battle her opponent to a tiebreaker in the first. Idaho’s Belen Barcenilla was able to get past Warner though, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Sophomore Alexis Filliol dropped her match at No. 6, 6-1, 6-2.
The Eagles will now head to Boise, Idaho - the hometown of senior Chelsea Patton - for more non-conference action. EWU takes on Boise State Friday (March 8) before facing New Mexico on Sunday (March 10).