March 20, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women's tennis team returns to Big Sky Conference play this weekend with a match-up against Weber State.
The Eagles (6-6, 3-1 BSC) will face the Wildcats (3-9, 1-2 BSC) at 10 a.m. on Saturday (March 22) in a match to be played at Whitworth University in Spokane.
Weber State will play three straight matches in the Spokane area, as the Wildcats take on Gonzaga on Friday (March 21) and Idaho in Spokane on Sunday (March 23).
"Weber State is fighting for a tournament spot, and we are expecting them to play tough against us," interim head coach Darren Haworth said. "We have to come out and play solid doubles and solid singles. Getting the doubles point is really going to help momentum."
On Sunday, Eastern Washington takes on UC Santa Cruz (4-5) at 3 p.m., also at Whitworth. The Banana Slugs will bring a four-match winning streak into the contest.
"UC Santa Cruz is a really good (NCAA) Division III team this year and have some good wins," Haworth said. "They are another team that we are going to have to come out and play our best tennis - we are not taking anybody lightly."
The Eagles went 1-1 in its last two matches, both league contests, defeating Northern Colorado 7-0 on March 8 and falling to Northern Arizona 6-1 on March 9.
Eastern Washington saw its six-match winning streak snapped in the loss to NAU. The streak was the team's longest since the 1993 squad took eight straight to start that season.
This weekend marks two of the final three Eastern contests to take place in the Spokane area. The only future match to occur in the area is a home contest with Gonzaga on April 10.
The Eagles are off to their best league start in school history, having already tied for its second-highest Big Sky win total ever (the 1998 squad went 3-3, while last year's team was 4-3).
The Record Books Get Rewritten
Five Eagles are among the top eight on the Eastern Washington career singles wins chart. Kasey Knox is third with 31 victories, while Rachel Berger has 26, good for fourth. In fifth is Kerstyn Dolack (25), while Amanda Mankovits is fifth (23) and Marie Demerath sits in eighth place with 20 wins.
Where's the Match?
Home tennis matches will take place outside at the Sports and Recreation tennis courts, located directly to the southeast of the varsity soccer field.
Rain or cold temperatures will, however, move matches indoors to the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse, located directly to the south of Reese Court, the home for Eastern's volleyball and basketball teams. The Fieldhouse is located on the bottom floor of the facility right behind the racquetball courts.
Top-Notch Schedule for Eagles in 2008
The Eagles are taking on top competition in 2008, as five nationally-ranked squads are on the slate, including four straight right off the bat. In addition to already-played matches with No. 50 Washington State, No. 70 Washington, No. 42 Boise State and No. 67 Utah, Eastern Washington is scheduled to take on 42nd-ranked Sacramento State in California's capital city on March 27. The Hornets have won 46 straight conference matches.
Also, three nationally-ranked singles players are scheduled to take on Eagles, as is one doubles squad. No. 91 Ekaterina Burduli of Washington State defeated Kasey Knox, 6-3, 6-2, on Jan. 19, while Bianca Jochimsen of Boise State (No. 81) defeated Sarah Leuenberger, 6-1, 6-3, on Feb. 9.
No. 41 Katrina Zheltova of Sacramento State is scheduled to take an Eagle opponent on March 27.
In doubles play, the 40th-ranked team of Polina Kokoulina and Pichitira Thongdach of Boise State topped Knox and Amanda Mankovits, 8-2, on Feb. 9.