Both Eagle Squads Play Two Home Matches This Week

April 6, 2009

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After taking 14 days off from competition, the Eastern Washington University women's tennis team will play four times in three days this week.

The first two matches will occur in Pullman, Wash., as the Eagles face Washington State at 6 p.m. on Thursday (April 9) before facing UC Santa Barbara at 10 the following morning.

On Saturday (April 11), the Eagles will play two home matches, versus Portland at 9 a.m. and Seattle University at 1 p.m.

The Eagles are currently 8-8 and have finished up their Big Sky Conference slate with a 4-4 mark, placing the Eagles currently in a fourth-place tie.

Washington State is 7-16 and plays host to UC Santa Barbara Thursday prior to meeting the Eagles.

The Gauchos are 13-5 and will play Saint Mary's and the Cougars before facing Eastern.

Portland is 5-10 this year and will take on Gonzaga on Friday before heading to Cheney.

Seattle University is 4-4 and will also play Gonzaga on Friday before facing the Eagles the following day.

Berger Ties School Record!                          
On March 25, Rachel Berger recorded her 40th career singles win, tying the school record in that category. Her 6-1, 6-2 win during Eastern's 5-2 defeat of Grand Canyon that day tied her with Tina Dlouhy, who played at Eastern from 1993-96.

Meanwhile, Amanda Mankovits has tallied 32 victories, good for fourth place on that chart, while Marie Demerath is just behind her with 28 wins, in sixth place.

In doubles play, Demerath and Mankovits have teamed up for 16 career wins, the second-best total in Eastern history. Dlouhy and Sejla Serifovic (1993, 1995-96) currently hold the record of 30.

All marks date to 1991, as individual singles and doubles results are incomplete prior to that season.

Eagles Close in on 10-Win Season                           
At 8-8, Eastern Washington is closing in on a 10-win season, which the team looks to achieve during its busy four-matches-in-three-days stretch later this week.

Last year, the Eagles went 10-14 to record their highest win total since the 1993 team was 10-8. That 1993 squad was also the last to record a winning mark, something this year's team has set as a goal.

Eastern last claimed 11 or more wins in 1989, as that team recorded an 11-13 mark. The last time an EWU team won 12 or more contests was in 1984 (16-8).

On a bigger scale, EWU is in the midst of an impressive turnaround, having won 33 matches since the beginning of the 2006 season. By comparison, the 2001-05 teams combined for just eight victories.

In Big Sky Conference contests, Eastern has gone 12-11 the last two years after going 6-43 from 2000-06.

Also, last year the Eagles claimed their first postseason victory since 1994, 4-0 over Montana in the Big Sky quarterfinals. That win snapped a 29-match postseason losing streak for the Eagles.

Road Warriors                                              
Eastern Washington is an impressive 6-4 in road matches this year, the best road record in the Big Sky Conference. The only team with more away wins is No. 50 Sacramento State with its 8-8 away mark. Overall, the rest of the league is 18-52 on the road.

Eagles Pull Out Marathon Contest                      
On Feb. 27, Eastern Washington rallied from a 3-2 deficit to defeat Montana in a Big Sky Conference match that finally came to an end at 10:56 p.m., 356 minutes after it started.

The night's dramatics were put into motion when the doubles point came down to a 90-minute No. 3 match, which saw Caitlin Bampton and Kasie King pull out an exciting 9-8 (7-2) victory.

Then the Grizzlies won three of the first four singles matches to finish play to come within the brink of a victory with a 3-2 lead.

A pair of Eagles, however, had other ideas.

King finished off an impressive third set in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory to tie the team score 3-3. Then, with all eyes on her contest, Judy Liening also prevailed impressively in her deciding stanza, finishing off a rally from a set down for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

The match continued a healthy rivalry between the teams, as Eastern had eliminated Montana from the postseason a year ago, 4-0 in the Big Sky quarterfinals (in the process, snapping a 29-match postseason losing streak), while the Grizzlies had rallied from a 3-2 deficit to defeat EWU in the quarterfinal round the year before 4-3.

Where's the Match?  
With cooperating weather, home matches will be played outside at the Sports and Recreation tennis courts, which are located directly to the northwest of the varsity soccer field.

Inclement or cold weather will cause matches to take place indoors at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse, which is located directly to the northwest of the outdoor courts and to the south of Reese Court, home of the EWU basketball and volleyball teams. It is on the bottom floor of that facility, right behind the racquetball courts.

The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team has a pair of important matches this week to wrap up its 2009 home slate.

The Eagles first play host to local rival Gonzaga on Wednesday (April 8), then finishes up its Big Sky Conference schedule versus Portland State on Friday (April 10). Both matches will start at 3 p.m.

The Eagles (13-8, 5-2 BSC) are currently in third place in the Big Sky standings with one match to go. They are out of the running for the league's regular-season title but are still within the hunt for second place and a bye into the Big Sky semifinals.

Eastern enters this week with 13 victories, tied for the third-highest total since 1984 (records are incomplete prior to that year). This year's team just trails the 2007 team (14-12) and last year's group of Eagles (18-7) and is tied with the 1985 squad (13-10).

Eastern Washington beat Gonzaga in Spokane in the first of the teams' annual home-and-home series on Feb. 18 by a 6-1 score.

The Bulldogs are 6-12 and coming off a 5-2 win over UC Davis on March 29 in their most recent outing. Gonzaga is 3-2 versus Big Sky teams this year.

Portland State is 9-11, 2-5 in Big Sky matches and in sixth place in the league standings. The contest will also be the Vikings' final league match of the season.

They fell to Montana State 6-1 on Saturday (April 4) in their most recent match.

Last Chance to Watch Amazing Seniors
On Friday (April 10), an incredible senior class will play their final home match. This class includes Art Karas, Pannhara Mam, Daniel Pez and Kyle Schraeder.

All except Pez spent all four years at Eastern, while Pez played three years as an Eagle after transferring from Morehead State.

In the past four years, the Eagles have gone 55-35, 20-8 in Big Sky Conference matches, a vast improvement o the four years immediatley prior (6-52, 1-25 BSC).

Doubles Team Ties School Record          
Eastern Washingtons No. 1 duo of Nico Riego de Dios and Kyle Schraeder has recorded a 15-6 record this year and has tied the school mark for wins in a season by a doubles tandem.

The 15th came by an 8-4 score in a 6-1 defeat of Scottsdale CC on Sunday (April 5).

The 15 wins also place the two in a third-place tie for most career wins by an EWU doubles team.

Earlier this season, the talented duo became what is believed to be the first nationally-ranked doubles team at the NCAA Division I level in Eastern history, placing 72nd in the rankings from March 17-30.

Their most impressive victory came on Feb. 20, when they outlasted Sacramento State's 59th-ranked duo of Anton Stryhas and Kiryl Harbatsiuk in dramatic fashion, 9-8 (15-13).

In the back-and-forth tiebreaker, the Hornet pair broke serve twice to turn a 12-11 Eastern lead into a 13-12 Sacramento State advantage. However, the Eagles then returned the favor and broke serve twice themselves to go up 14-13 before securing the winning point on the next rally.

First to 50!                                       
In Eastern Washington's 7-0 defeat of Linfield in Lincoln City, Ore., on Feb. 28, Art Karas become the first Eagle to ever record 50 career victories. His 50th came by 6-2, 6-2 scores on court three. He has now tallied 55 wins.

Eagles Honored Four Times as POW                          
Nico Riego de Dios and Kyle Schraeder have each been named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week two times this season, earning the honors on Tuesday (March 31) and previously on March 10.

To earn the most recent set of honors, he went a perfect 3-0 in singles play to help Eastern to a pair of Big Sky wins over Weber State and Idaho State, 5-2 and 7-0, respectively.

To attain the earlier award, Riego de Dios helped the Eagles to a dominating 7-0 conference win over Montana State before playing well in a 4-3 non-conference loss to Idaho.

Kyle Schraeder was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on March 25 after helping the Eagles to 5-2 and 7-0 victories over Lewis-Clark State and Bethany (Kan.), respectively.  He went undefeated in his singles and doubles matches that week.

He also won the award on Jan. 27, after playing well in the month of January (the Big Sky only awarded one POW for that month due to the varying amount of matches played by league teams in January). 

The two also had pivotal roles in the other winning POW honors, as they have teamed up for perfect doubles records the weeks prior to the March 10 and 25 awards. For the season, the duo has recorded a 15-6 mark, all at the No. 1 position.

Each player has now won POW honors three times. Riego de Dios previously achieved the feat on April 8 of last season, while Schraeder did so Feb. 28 of that campaign.

Impressive Turnaround                                  
Before completely turning around its program with the 2006 squad, Eastern Washington had recorded at least 19 consecutive losing seasons (results from the 1987 campaign are incomplete).

To compare and contrast, consider that the Eagles have gone 55-35 since the beginning of the 2006 season (20-8 in Big Sky Conference play) after finishing 6-52, 1-25 in league contests, the four years immediately prior (2002-05).

Dominating the Record Book                       
Current Eagles take up the top four spots in the listing for most career singles wins in Eastern history.

Art Karas is setting the pace with 55 victories, Kyle Schraeder has 48, Pannhara Mam has 44, while Daniel Pez has recorded 35 wins.

Also, Nico Riego de Dios, a junior, is quickly catching up to those four, siiting in a sixth-place tie with 32 victories.

In doubles, Riego de Dios and Schraeder have teamed up for 15 victories this season, tying for the school mark in that category for a single season. It is also tied for third on the career victory chart.

For complete up-to-date listings, please see page 3 of the corresponding PDF.

Where's the Match?                                   
With cooperating weather, home matches will be played outside at the Sports and Recreation tennis courts, which are located directly to the northwest of the varsity soccer field.

Inclement or cold weather will cause matches to take place indoors at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse, which is located directly to the northwest of the outdoor courts and to the south of Reese Court, home of the EWU basketball and volleyball teams. It is on the bottom floor of that facility, right behind the racquetball courts.

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