Eagles Earn Third Conference Win for First Time Since 1998

March 23, 2007

The Eastern Washington University women's tennis team earned a clutch win on Friday afternoon (March 23), defeating Weber State, 4-3, to move to 3-2 in Big Sky Conference play. The Eagles are now in third place, trailing Northern Arizona (3-1) by half a game for the second slot.

"It was a great win for us to go and beat them on their home court," assistant coach Darren Haworth said. "It was a really spirited atmosphere; there were a lot of people watching the match."

The Eagles have now tied their school record for conference wins in a season, which was set in 1998 (3-3). Overall, Eastern Washington has tied its second-highest win total earned since the 1996 team went 7-15. Last year's team went 7-13, while the 2005 and 1998 teams each recorded four wins in 4-17 and 4-16 seasons, respectively.

The match came down to the No. 2 singles contest, which saw Kerstyn Dolack rally from 6-4, 5-4 (30-15) down (with her opponent, Inalise Pienaar, serving for the match) to win the second and third sets by two games each, 7-5 and 6-4, respectively. The impressive win completed a comeback for the Eagles which started when it lost the doubles point, marking the first time this season Eastern had not won the doubles tally, but responded by winning 4-of-6 singles contests to win the match.

"I am glad it came down to the player it came down to because she has been a clutch player for us. I was confident that she would get the job done," Haworth said.

The doubles point went down to the wire, as well, as the teams split the first two contests to finish and it came down to the match on the first court, where Rachel Berger and Iliana Petrova were outlasted, 8-6, by Kate Ennenga and Pienaar.

"It was tough to adjust to the altitude change, so we got off to slow start, but were able to work our way back into the match," Haworth said.

The Eagles (4-9) then proceeded to win the first three singles matches to finish play to grab control with a 3-1 lead. First to finish was Berger, who defeated Greyce Farias on the fourth court, 6-4, 6-0. She was followed by Marie Demerath, who topped Elsje Beneke, 6-2, 6-4, at 5. Kasey Knox earned Eastern its third point with a clutch first set win and pulled away in the second with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Gabriela Venditto.

At that point, Weber State (5-9, 0-3 BSC) grabbed control of the match back by winning contests on the sixth and third courts. Then, Dolack finished off her win to earn Eastern its important conference win.

The win moved Eastern to 2-0 in Big Sky road contests.

The Eagles continue their long Spring Break trip on Saturday (March 24) with a contest versus Utah State (4-5). The Aggies will be playing their first match in 38 days. First serve is slated for 9 a.m. PT.


Eastern Washington at Weber State
Eastern Washington 4, Weber State 3
March 23, 2007, at Ogden, Utah

Singles competition
1. Kasey Knox (EWU) def. Gabriela Venditto (WSU), 7-5, 6-0
2. Kerstyn Dolack (EWU) def. Inalise Pienaar (WSU), 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
3. Ashley Schapper (WSU) def. Amanda Mankovits (EWU), 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
4. Rachel Berger (EWU) def. Greyce Farias (WSU), 6-4, 6-0
5. Marie Demerath (EWU) def. Elsje Beneke (WSU), 6-2, 6-4
6. Keya Adamson (WSU) def. Sayaka Yoshimoto (EWU), 7-5, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. Inalise Pienaar/Kate Ennenga (WSU) def. Rachel Berger/Iliana Petrova (EWU), 8-6
2. Kasey Knox/Kerstyn Dolack (EWU) def. Gabriela Venditto/Greyce Farias (WSU), 8-5
3. Ashley Schapper/Elsje Beneke (WSU) def. Marie Demerath/Amanda Mankovits (EWU), 8-4

Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,5,1,6,3,2)

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