Sept. 20, 2006
The collegiate women's tennis season begins this week when Eastern Washington University hosts the second annual Red Lion Invitational at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center outdoor tennis courts.
Action begins Friday (Sept. 22) with first and second round individual matches. Action continues on Saturday and Sunday, with individual and doubles champions crowned.
Besides Eastern, other teams with individual and doubles teams competing include Gonzaga, Idaho, Montana, Portland and Lewis-Clark State.
"It's a good competition and kind of sets the tone for the rest of the year," said EWU head coach Patrick Dreves. "It's a great way to kick off the season. And this year the weather looks good -- last year it was raining so we were forced to play inside."
Eastern junior Kasey Knox is seeded second in the individual portion of the tournament after enjoying an outstanding 2005-06 season. The graduate of Hanford High School in West Richland, Wash., earned second team All-Big Sky Conference honors as a sophomore. She was 8-13 last year and is 14-27 in her career.
Eastern returns most of its top players from last year's team that finished 7-13 and narrowly lost to Northern Arizona 4-3 in the Big Sky Conference Championships. Newcomers joining the team are Marie Demerath and Claudia Gonzales.
"I think we should have a good tournament," said Dreves. "Our women's team did really well at the end of last year. Essentially our top returning players are back and we have two new players who I think will be impact players for us."