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Eastern Washington University Tennis

Eastern tennis in must-win situation

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Eastern Washington's men's tennis team needs at least one win this weekend to qualify for the Big Sky tournament (Photo: EWU Athletics) Eastern Washington's men's tennis team needs at least one win this weekend to qualify for the Big Sky tournament (Photo: EWU Athletics)

By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information

The Eastern Washington University men's tennis team faces two important matches this weekend as they battle at Montana on Friday and at Montana State on Saturday . If the Eagles sweep both matches, they will head to the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the fifth-straight year.

If the Eagles sweep both matches they will receive the fourth and final spot in the tournament, finishing with a 5-3 record in conference play. There are scenarios that would allow Eastern to lose either one of the two matches and still make the tournament. If three or more teams are tied, the Eagles would win the tie-breaker by virtue of their victory over second-place Weber State earlier this season.

"It'll be great to see the guys finish out strong," said head coach Darren Haworth. "They are peaking at the right time. Both matches will be tough on the road but I'm confident we can win both."

Montana is currently 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the conference. The Grizzlies are most recently coming off of a 4-3 win over Idaho State on April 10. Montana State is 5-15 overall and 1-4 in the conference, and has lost eight of its last ten matches.

The match Friday will begin at noon and Saturday's match is set to begin at 2 p.m.

EWU Women need win at Bozeman

The women's team also needs to win this weekend if they want to make the postseason. They'll be at Montana State in Bozeman playing a Bobcat team that's 3-3 in conference play with two games to go.

If the Eagles lose, and Northern Colorado wins its final two matches, there would be a three-way tie between Montana State, Eastern Washington and Northern Colorado at 4-4 in the standings. In this case, none of the three teams would have beaten the top two teams – Sacramento State and Northern Arizona. Northern Colorado would have a win over third-place Montana, while Eastern and Montana State would have both lost to Montana. Northern Colorado would be the No. 4 team in the tournament if this scenario plays out.

Not only can the Eagles make the postseason with a win, but they can also set program records in the process. A victory Saturday would give the Eagles five conference wins, the highest total since Eastern began play in the Big Sky Conference in 1997-98. The Eagles have won four conference matches each of the last three seasons.

Eastern would also finish the season with 11 total wins, the most since the 1988-89 season when that team finished with 11.

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