April 7, 2008

Rivals, Big Sky Match Await Eagles

April 7, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women's tennis team will open its week with a home contest against Spokane-area rival Gonzaga before traveling to Missoula to take on Montana in a Big Sky Conference match.

The Eagles (8-9, 4-3 BSC) enter the week having equaled the overall and league win totals of last year's squad (8-15, 4-3 BSC). No EWU squad has ever reached five Big Sky wins, while the last time an Eastern Washington team attained nine wins was in 1993 (10-8).

The contest with the Bulldogs begins at 3 p.m. on Thursday (April 10), while Eastern takes on Montana at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. Eastern is currently in third place in the Big Sky, while the Grizzlies (5-10, 2-2 BSC) are tied for fourth.

Gonzaga (8-11) will enter this week's contest with a four-match winning streak. When the teams met in Spokane on Feb. 20, the Eagles prevailed by a 5-2 score.

Earlier this year, EWU had a six-match winning streak (Feb. 16-March 8), which was the team's longest since the 1993 Eastern squad took eight straight decisions to start that season.

The Record Books Get Rewritten

Incredibly, five Eagles are among the top seven on the Eastern Washington career singles wins chart. Kasey Knox is tied for the second spot with 34 victories (Tina Dlouhy (1993-96) holds the record with 40 wins).

In fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, are Rachel Berger (29), Kerstyn Dolack (28), Amanda Mankovits (25) and Marie Demerath (23).

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 were on the slate, including four straight right off the bat. In addition to those matches with No. 50 Washington State, No. 70 Washington, No. 42 Boise State and No. 67 Utah, Eastern Washington took on 46th-ranked Sacramento State.

Also, three nationally-ranked singles players took on Eagles, as did 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.

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.

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