The Gonzaga University men’s tennis team defeated the Eastern Washington Eagles on Friday with a final score of 4-0 at Gonzaga’s home courts in the Stevens Center. This is the second match that GU has secured against the Eagles.
The Bulldogs (9-3) entered the match after a close loss to California Poly Mustangs at the beginning of the week. Cal Poly controlled doubles and after a tough struggle, the Mustangs forced a tiebreaker in the final match, sealing a loss for GU.
Friday’s afternoon was led with fierce doubles matches that resulted in the Bulldogs’ first point. GU came out with the rare pairing of Theo McDonald and Hunter Egger on court two facing Eastern’s Wout Doumen and Eric Sarlvik. Court one saw the well-founded duo, Sasha Trkulja and Leon Roider, against Manuel Balce and Martin Bats, while court three featured GU’s Pablo Gomez and Matthew Perkins dueling against Jeremy Mueller and Bruno Ortega.
Upperclassmen Egger and McDonald seemed to breeze through their match, despite being pitted against Eastern’s most powerful duo, and ended their match first with a 6-2 win.
Meanwhile, on courts one and two, the other duos played vigorous matches with several impressive rallies between the two teams. Trkulja and Roider cut off the back-and-forth for both sides with a final score of 6-4, earning the duo their sixth win of the season.
Gomez and Perkins also held strong against a tough pairing from Eastern and ended their match with a score of 6-4.
“I thought we came out focused,” Perkins said. “Overall, the guys played really well.”
Following the 1-0 lead, the Zags rode the energy into the second half of the afternoon with singles play. GU’s Egger, Trkulja and McDonald were off and running, each securing their first sets with significant leads on their respective courts. Closely following was Perkins on court six who also won his first set with a 6-3 lead.
GU’s Hunter Egger was the one to secure the Bulldog’s first singles victory. The senior played an enthralling game against the Eagles’ Bruno Ortega with several intense rallies. Following a 6-2 lead in the first set, Egger secured the win with the same score of 6-2 in the second set. This is Egger’s third win of the season.
Closely following Egger was superstar Sasha Trkulja, taking his match in a powerful straight 6-0, 6-0 win on court one. Trkulja upholds his undefeated record, now 9-0, and proved his skill once again while facing Eastern’s Manuel Balce.
The remaining matches were tough for all involved. On courts two and three, Gomez and Roider were neck-and-neck in their first sets against Doumen and Bats respectively. Both duels were ended by McDonald’s closing win, just when Gomez had started to retake his lead against Doumen, finishing with a score of 7-6, and Roider continuing to match the points Bats’ secured, but ending with a score of 6-7.
McDonald secured the final point for GU in a match against Eric Sarlvik. After taking the first set with a solid 6-1 lead, the junior fought with assertive and elegant style in his second set, ending with a score of 6-2. This is McDonald’s fourth win of the season.
The day ended with the Bulldogs continuing their at-home score of 8-0 and an overall record of 9-3 for the season.
Perkins, who was cut short in his second set at the end of the day, said, “It’s good to get another win at home. We’re excited to get back out there tomorrow!”
The Zags have a quick turnaround with two games scheduled for Saturday, March 20th against the University of Nebraska at Omaha at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Stevens Center.