CHENEY - A short-handed Whitman College men's tennis team gave NCAA Division I Eastern Washington all it could handle here Saturday before dropping a 5-2 decision.
In the opening round of doubles, Andrew La Cava and James Rivers notched an 8-6 victory in the No. 2 slot, beating two EWU's Chad Henninger and Julian Sanchez.
Whitman's Conor Holton-Burke and Matt Tesmond lost by the same 8-6 score at No. 1 doubles, falling to Kyle Koertje and James Russell.
That left the doubles team point to the side winning a back-and-forth tussle at No. 3 doubles, where Whitman's Steven Roston and Colton Malesovas let a match point slip away in a 9-8 (7-4) loss to Stefan Simikic and Mario Navarro.
Down 1-0 headed to singles, Whitman picked off two victories in six competitive matches.
La Cava, playing at No. 1, bounced back for a 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Russell, and Sam Sadeghi was a winner at No. 5, where he outlasted Simikic 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-6).
Holton-Burke dropped a 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 battle to Navarro at No. 2 singles, and Rivers was unable to convert a match point in losing 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (11-9) to Koertje.
Roston lost 6-4, 6-4 to Sanchez at No. 4 singles, while Will Huskey fell 6-1, 6-4 to Henninger at No. 3.
Whitman played the match, its first counter of the spring season, without two of its regulars, Jeff Tolman and Adriel Borshansky.
Whitman continues its season in two weeks when its hosts the five-team Whitman Shootout Feb. 10-12.
The Missionaries will play four matches, including its Northwest Conference opener against George Fox.
Other teams in the round-robin tournament are NCAA Division I Montana, NAIA Division I Lewis-Clark State and NCAA Division III powerhouse UC-Santa Cruz.