Women’s tennis splits weekend matches, move to 6-3

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Photo by Melanie Flint

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

The EWU women’s tennis team won five of its last six matches after splitting a pair of weekend matches, as the team gears up for two conference road matches on Feb. 19 and 21.

Coming off a tight 4-3 win over Northern Arizona on Feb. 7 to move to 1-0 in conference play, the Eagles met a buzzsaw when they traveled to Spokane to play Gonzaga, losing, 0-7, despite playing several tight singles matches.

Gonzaga claimed the doubles point handily, dropping just eight games throughout three sets of play. In singles play, sophomore Janaya Smith forced a first-set tiebreaker in the first singles position, but lost the tiebreaker, 7-2, before falling, 6-3, in the second set.

In the second singles position, redshirt senior Moira Hedberg won the only set on the day for the Eagles, winning the first set, 7-5, before eventually falling, 10-7, in a third-set tiebreak. Every other singles player for EWU fell in straight sets, as the Eagles suffered their third loss of the year.

“We played a very tough Gonzaga team but I’m really pleased with the energy and intensity we brought to the match,” said head coach Dustin Hinson. “We were close in a few of the matches and we know the team score could have come out much closer.”
The Eagles responded strongly after the loss, taking on Lewis-Clark State College and comfortably handing them a 7-0 defeat. The Eagles dropped just six games in three doubles sets to earn the doubles point, and it was a sprint to the finish for EWU after that.

Hedberg stepped in for Smith in the first singles position, dropping five games en route to a 6-2, 6-3, victory over LCSC’s Lauren Lang. No Eagle dropped more than five games in a singles match, with junior Erin Blessing dropping just one game in the fourth singles match, winning 6-1, 6-0, over Stephanie Buckingham.

“We responded very well on Saturday against LCSC and dominated the match from start to finish, said Hinson. “We have a very important conference road swing ahead of us next weekend and I believe this weekend’s matches was a great way to prepare.”