Stanford, Calif. - Winning 10 of their last 12 singles matches, and three of the last four doubles matches, the Eastern Washington University women's tennis team finished some sensational play at the ITA Northwest Regionals hosted by Stanford, in Stanford, Calif. Featuring high levels of competition from the Pac-12 and other western conferences, the tournament started Friday, Oct. 23 and continued until Tuesday, Oct. 27.
In the singles draw, sophomore Janaya Smith finished as Eastern's top performer, winning her first round match against UC Davis' Lani Rae Green with a clear victory ending 6-3, 6-3. In the next round she looked to continue her momentum with a great 6-1 win in the first set over Sacramento State's Deimante Bulatovaite, however; she would fall short after a competitive three-set battle that finished with a score of 1-6, 6-4, 6-0.
The Eagles also earned a number of solid victories in the singles back draws on Saturday and Sunday. Sophomore Rachel Swindell took down UC Davis' Kamila Kecki in a close match 3-6, 6-4, 1-0(8), and followed that up on the second day of backdraws, with another successful match, pitted against Madison Maloney of Seattle, that ended 7-6(4), 6-3. Freshman Faye Worrall had a commanding win over Justine Deleval of San Jose State 6-1, 6-2, and also edged out a close victory over Seattle's Barbara Carey 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(3). The other Eagles that secured multiple wins in the back draws included junior Dani Young, who overcame the California-Berkeley player Audrey Mayer with a finish of 5-7, 6-3, 1-0(7), and junior Carolina Lopez, defeating both of her opponents in strong, two-set victories. Freshman Jennifer Lewis also had a big win over Stanford's Paulette Wolak 6-1, 6-3.
In the doubles field, the team came away with a couple more wins to strengthen their tournament showing. Smith, teaming up with junior Katrina Domingo, pulled off a dominant 8-2 victory over Big Sky counterparts, Tracy Dong and Kelsey Frey from Portland State. The other duos making their way into the win column were Young and Worrall, finishing off Sacramento State's pair of Angerer and Velez, in a close match that ended 8-5; as well as the team of senior Moira Hedberg and junior Erin Blessing, who tallied a win over San Francisco's Jiayu Mu and Alisha Sharma 8-3. Swindell and Lopez left their mark with another win over Stanford, taking down Wolak and her partner Elizabeth Yao, with a score of 8-4.
Overall, the Eagles came away with some inspired performances in the tournament, and coach Dustin Hinson was impressed with their play, "We had great practices leading up to the tournament where we focused on EARNING a winning culture for our women's tennis program. We focused on the idea that nothing is guaranteed and that everything is EARNED. What that translated to on the practice court was hard work and focused/positive attitudes, which led to the mindset that our performance on match day is directly correlated to the energy we give on the practice court. I'm proud of the work we put in leading up to the tournament and we showed up with the kind of energy and hunger that is necessary to EARN a winning culture on our women's tennis program here at EWU."
Next on the schedule for the women's team will be the Gonzaga Invitational. The tournament begins on Friday, Nov. 6, and continues until Sunday, Nov. 8. For the Eagles, this marks the final tournament of the fall season, and the 2015 year.