Men’s tennis dominates local matches

Vuk Vuckovic returns the hit in match against Whitworth

Anna Millis

Vuk Vuckovic returns the hit in match against Whitworth

By Elohino Theodore, Senior Reporter

The EWU men’s tennis made their home debut in a doubleheader against Whitworth University and Spokane Community College on Feb. 7.

Head coach Steve Clark talked about the experience of playing at home after starting the season on the road.

“We’ve made a lot of changes to the facility,” said Clark. “So we wanted to be able to bring people in. I think we had a pretty good turnout. Overall, I think it was about 100 people [at the matches].”

The Eagles defeated Whitworth, 7-0, in the first part of their doubleheader.

Eastern started the day off with doubles matches. No. 1 doubles team, sophomore Robert Dula and redshirt junior Eduardo Martinez, defeated Whitworth’s No. 1 doubles team, 6-3.

The Eagles’ No. 2 doubles team, consisting of freshman Vuk Vuckovic and sophomore Wacil Bendjelti, defeated Whitworth’s No. 2 doubles team, 6-2.

The No. 3 doubles team, junior Eduardo Bringold and junior Luke Thompson, defeated Whitworth’s final doubles team, 6-4.

Martinez talked about event and on-court preparation prior to the home competitions.

“Well, we’ve had pretty intense practices [last week],” said Martinez. “We prepared everything; we invited a lot of people; we handed out fliers.”

No. 1 player Dula started off the singles matches by going up against Whitworth’s sophomore Drew Brigham. Dula defeated Brigham, 6-1, 6-1.

Dula talked about his mental performance during the day.

“I felt very good,” said Dula. “Me personally, I’ve been practicing really well. I believe in myself, and I have high confidence.”

The No. 2 singles match resulted in a 6-3, 6-3 victory for Vuckovic over Whitworth’s junior Chris Engelmann. No. 3  player Martinez won his singles match, 6-0, 7-5. No. 4 player Bringold defeated his opponent, 6-2, 7-5. No. 5 player Bendjelti got a victory against Whitworth, 6-2, 6-2. In the last singles match against Whitworth, No. 6 player Thompson won his match 6-2, 6-0.

Clark mentioned improvements that his players can make in their game.

“We’ve got to volley better; we’ve got to make more returns,” said Clark. “The things we got to work on is, in our doubles, is definitely making more returns, be more aggressive. In singles, is just making sure that when we got [opponents] down, we keep it going.”

In the second part of their double header, the Eagles dominated Spokane Community College, 7-0.

Vuckovic and Martinez won the first doubles match against Spokane Community College, 6-2. Bringold and Thompson followed with a victory of 6-1. Senior Stefan Farrar and sophomore Luke Ness won in the last doubles match of the day, 6-0.

In the singles matches against SCC, Vuckovic won his second singles match of the day, 6-0, 6-0. Martinez won 6-2, 6-0 in the No. 2 singles match. In No. 3 singles, Bringold won 6-1, 6-2.

For No. 4 singles, Bendjelti defeated his opponent, 6-0, 6-0.

Thompson won 6-1, 6-0 in the last No. 5 singles match of the day. Finally, redshirt sophomore Rendell Burghart won the last No. 6 singles match, 6-0, 6-0.

After the first half of the doubleheader, coach Clark still expected more from his team.

“I wasn’t happy with the way some of the guys played,” said Clark. “Some of the guys just stepped up and went full throttle, and some of the guys were way too tentative.”

Eastern will go up against the University of Northern Colorado in a Big Sky matchup on Feb. 20.