Men and women’s tennis keep rolling

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

Another week, another handful of wins collected by the women’s tennis team who defeated the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Northern Colorado Bears to improve to 3-0 in Big Sky play.

The Eagles rolled over the Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Feb. 19, winning the match, 6-1. The Eagles won all three singles sets, including a 7-6 (1) tiebreak win by the team of redshirt senior Moira Hedberg and junior Erin Blessing.

In the first singles spot, sophomore Janaya Smith recorded a straight sets win over North Dakota’s Lacey Sprinkel, 6-4, 6-2. Hedberg battled back in the second singles position, winning her match despite dropping the opening set.

Junior Dani Young also won her match after coming back from a set down, while Blessing and and freshman Faye Worrall won their matches by identical, 6-2, 6-0, scorelines.

The Eagles faced off against Northern Colorado two days later on Feb. 21, winning the doubles point in tight fashion. Smith and Worrall edged out the Bear’s first doubles team, 7-6 (6), while Hedberg and Blessing won their set, 6-4, in the second doubles position.

Hedberg and Blessing kept up the gritty play in their singles matches, with each winning in three sets. Hedberg defeated the Bears’ Beth Coton, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in the second singles match, while Blessing won the final two sets to win the match after losing in a first set tiebreaker.

Young also picked up her second singles win of the road trip, defeating Marissa Baca, 6-3, 7-5. Smith lost a tight two-setter in the first singles match, losing, 5-7, 4-6, while Worrall lost in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 4-6. Through 11 matches in her first season at EWU, the England native has an 8-3 record.

“I’m really pleased coming out of this weekend with a sweep on the road,” said head coach Dustin Hinson. “Every conference match is tough, especially on the road. Our focus going into the weekend was to be “all in” and to stay hungry from start to finish in each match.”

The Eagles sit atop the Big Sky with a 3-0 conference record and take on Weber State at home on Feb. 26 at 10 a.m., who won their only Big Sky match, 4-3, against North Dakota. The Eagles then host Whitworth on Feb. 27 in a non-conference match, which is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

The men’s tennis team keeps on winning, handling the Portland State Vikings, 6-1, on Feb. 20 at home, improving to 3-0 in conference play.

The Eagles captured the doubles point after winning two of the three sets, which included a set win from the pairing of junior Robert Dula and freshman Victor Pereira, 6-3, over the Vikings’ first doubles team.

The two took care of business in their singles matches as well, with Dula defeating the previously undefeated Nathan Boniel in three tight sets, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. The reigning Big Sky Player of the Week improved to 8-0 in singles matches, all coming in the first singles position.

Like Dula, Pereira also won his second singles match in three sets, bouncing back after dropping the first set to win, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. “Victor played the best he has played all year, and I think this will propel him into other areas of his game,” head coach Steve Clark said.

Senior Eduardo Bringold and redshirt junior Rendell Burghart also won their singles matches in three sets, with Burghart coming back from a set down to win, 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (4). For the Alaskan native, it is Burghart’s third straight win in the sixth singles position after taking over for junior Luke Ness.

The Eagles travel to Dallas, Texas, on Feb. 26 to play four matches in three days against non-conference opponents, including the Southern Methodist Mustangs and the George Washington Colonials on Feb. 27.