EASTERN WASHINGTON EDGES HORNETS, 4-3, TO WIN BIG SKY MEN'S TENNIS TITLE
GOLD RIVER, Calif. — The Eastern Washington men’s tennis team overcame a 3-1 deficit and rallied for a 4-3 win over Sacramento State to claim the 2008 Big Sky Conference Championship, Sunday afternoon at the Gold River Racquet Club. The championship is the first for EWU in school history.
The Eagles, who lost to Sacramento State 4-3 during the regular season, scored the first point by winning a pair of doubles matches. Pannhara Mam and Kyle Schraeder recorded an 8-5 win at No. 1 and Art Karas and Nico Riego de Dios won 8-3 at No. 3.
The Hornets, however, stormed back at the start of singles play, winning three matches in straight sets. Anton Stryhas defeated Schrader, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 1 to improve to 22-1 on the season and win his 20th consecutive match. Sven-David Rueff followed with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Art Karas at No. 5 to give Sacramento State a 2-1 lead. The team’s final victory came at No. 2 where Kiryl Harbatsiuk defeated Mam, 6-3, 6-1.
Eastern Washington answered with a straight-sets victory from Daniel Pez over Ronan Conlon at No. 6 (7-5, 6-2). All attention then turned to the two remaining matches. Kenneth Norling tied the team score, 3-3, with a victory over Holden Ching at No. 4. Ching was able to win the first set, 6-2, but Norling tied the contest with a 6-4 win in the second. Tied 3-3 in the third set, Norling held serve to take a one-game advantage and then broke Ching before closing out the match.
The final point came at the No. 3 match. Riego de Dios captured the first set, 6-2, only to have Artur Klimenka tie the match with the exact score in the second set. Both players broke serve at the start of the third set and Klimenka eventually led 4-3 before Riego de Dios won the final three games to secure the title for the Eagles.
Sacramento State ends its season with a 16-8 overall record and saw its 10-match overall winning streak and 18-match streak against conference opponents snapped. The team returned just one player (Stryhas) from last season’s Big Sky championship team and won the Big Sky regular season title with a perfect 8-0 record.
EASTERN WASHINGTON 4, SACRAMENTO STATE 3
1. Anton Stryhas (SAC) def. Kyle Schraeder (EWU), 6-2, 6-0
2. Kiryl Harbatsiuk (SAC) def. Pannhara Mam (EWU), 6-3, 6-1
3. Nico Riego de Dios (EWU) def. Artur Klimenka (SAC), 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
4. Kenneth Norling (EWU) def. Holden Ching (SAC), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
5. Sven-David Rueff (SAC) def. Art Karas (EWU), 6-1, 6-3
6. Daniel Pez (EWU) def. Ronan Conlon (SAC), 7-5, 6-2
1. Pannhara Mam/Kyle Schraeder (EWU) def. Kiryl Harbatsiuk/Anton Stryhas (SAC), 8-5
2. Artur Klimenka/Sven-David Rueff (SAC) led Patrick Millican/Jonathan Davis (EWU), 6-5 unfinished
3. Art Karas/Nico Riego de Dios (EWU) def. Holden Ching/Ronan Conlon (SAC), 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,5,2,6,4,3)