Cheney, Wash. – Last season sits firmly in the past, the Eastern Washington University women's tennis team will not look back. Instead, they regard the new objective facing them. The 2015-16 season looms ahead, and the Eagles are eager to get started. With solid tournament competition and an always competitive conference schedule, a great year is certainly in the works.
Eastern begins the season at the Boise State Invitational from Friday, Sep. 25 through Sunday, Sep. 28. From there they transfer over to Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, Calif. for the ITA All-American Championships. This tournament allows the team to compete in a national tournament and gain valuable experience. "Fall is nice, because it gives us a chance to ease into it and figure out lineup thoughts for the conference season", expressed head coach Dustin Hinson.
The next tournament on EWU's plate is the ITA Northwest Regional from Oct. 23-27, and then concluding fall play is the Gonzaga Invitational, Nov. 6-8.
Kicking off the spring calendar, EWU goes on a Seattle road trip facing the always solid University of Washington, Saturday, Jan. 9, and finishing against Seattle University (Jan. 10). The home opener follows, with the Eagles taking on Mountain West opponent Nevada, on Friday, Jan. 29 at 3:00 pm, in Cheney.
After a match against Whitman (Jan. 30), conference play begins with the Eagles hosting Northern Arizona, one of the top teams in the Big Sky last year. Following that, they play a two match, non-conference stretch, including a competitive Gonzaga team on Friday, Feb. 12.
Returning from out of conference, Eastern will face-off against a number of familiar opponents. Coach Hinson had this to say about that portion of the schedule, "In the conference everyone is always competitive and it's a matter of being ready in those matches. It can really go either way on any given day, which is exciting for us, but you just want to be prepared." These matches are North Dakota (Feb. 19), Northern Colorado (Feb.21), Weber State (Feb. 26), Idaho State (Mar. 4), Southern Utah (Mar. 9), and finally Sacramento State (Mar. 20).
While the new season appears be tough, the Eagles will counter by bringing a reinforced attitude and a strong outlook, which will make large strides towards their improvement. "Our main thing we are trying to achieve is a strong mental approach to the game. We want to get where we believe in ourselves individually, in our team, and in our ability to beat anybody we step on the court against", ensured Hinson.
This philosophy will certainly be put to the test in the final stages of the season. After two matches away against UC Davis (Mar. 22), and San Francisco (Mar.23), EWU is set to battle with the Idaho Vandals, last year's Big Sky champions. The match will be held in Idaho on Friday, April 1. The rest of the final month is set as follows: Washington State University (Apr. 8), the final home match with Portland State (Apr. 10), Montana State (Apr. 15), and the season conclusion, top Big Sky opponent Montana, on Sunday, April 17.
Regardless of previous seasons, Eastern will focus on what is before them and establish an approach that both evolves them individually, and allows them to flourish as a team. Hinson understands "It's developing that belief and confidence in our abilities and that will help us go that extra step into the win column." With strong leadership, and a great group of players, it's hard not to get excited about the upcoming season.