Cheney, Wash. – While in the middle of a six game home stand, the Eastern Washington University women's tennis team competed and showed heart in two incredibly close 3-4 losses to both Grand Canyon and Big Sky Conference member Northern Colorado on Friday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 21, respectively.
In the opening match of the weekend against Grand Canyon, the Eagles made the initial surge to a 1-0 lead by securing the doubles point. EWU's combinations of freshman Janaya Smith and sophomore Katrina Domingo, and sophomores Erin Blessing and Dani Young, both saw impressive 6-4 wins over their respective opponents.
However, the Lopes would be able to bounce back to the 4-3 win in the singles portion of the competition that featured four out of six matches going to three sets. Eastern's two additional points came in the third and sixth positions with freshman Rachel Swindell (1-6, 6-4,6-4) and sophomore Carolina Lopez (3-6, 6-4, 10-3) both picking up intense comeback victories. Smith (1-6, 7-6(5), 6-7 (7)) and Domingo (0-6, 6-2, 6-2) both played close three-set matches, but lost to GCU's Annoual and Macukat, respectively.
A day later, facing against Big Sky foe Northern Colorado, the Eagles would also play another long and arduous series of matches. In the doubles section of Saturday's competition, the Eagles would again seize the initiative by earning the doubles point. The pairings of Smith and Domingo (6-2), and Blessing and Young (7-5), again earned solid wins over the Bears' pairings of Coton and Schulte, and Hoolahan and Bennet.
As the match transitioned into singles, EWU would eventually battle to knot up the score to a 3-3 tie, but eventually fell by a tally of 4-3. Lopez was Eastern's first off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 win over UNCO's Schulte in the fifth position. Smith would later give the Eagles' their third and final point of the day with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over the Bears' best player in Hoolahan. In the longest match of the day Young battled toe-to-toe with Walters-West in the fourth slot, competing in a lengthy three set match that finished by a final score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, giving Northern Colorado the win.
"It is very disappointing to get two close losses this weekend," said head coach Dustin Hinson, "We are fighting so hard to come out on top and things just aren't going our way. We will continue to work on executing key put-away shots when we get the opportunities. Its right on our racket, we just need to take it. We had a couple great matches out of Carolina Lopez, and our doubles were great. We will continue to work hard on our process and performance goals, and the results will start to come. I believe in our team."
The Eagles will finalize their six-game home stand next weekend where they will face two Big Sky opponents in North Dakota on Friday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m., and Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m.