CHENEY — Whitman College’s women’s tennis team, ranked No. 5 regionally and No. 16 nationally at the NCAA Division III level, suffered a 5-2 setback to Division I Eastern Washington Sunday afternoon at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse.
The Eagles notched their first win since opening the season Jan. 25 with a victory over South Carolina Upstate and are 2-5 overall.
Whitman, which commenced its weekend with Northwest Conference home victories over Linfield (5-4) on Friday and Willamette (8-1) on Saturday in the Bratton Tennis Center, is now 3-6 on the season.
Missionary victories came from Katrina Allick at No. 5 singles and Hannah Palkowitz at No. 6. Following an impressive first set, Allick put a poor second-set performance behind her to card a 6-2, 1-6, 10-6 win over Brittany Ellingsen. Palkowitz posted a 6-1, opening-set victory over Malieva Hedberg, who retired in the second set due to injury.
“There were two big hitters (playing) and the momentum went back and forth,” Whitman coach John Hein said of the No. 5 singles contest. “Katrina lost her focus a little bit in the second set. To her credit, she came up huge on some big points and found the right focus at the right time. It was great to see.
“Hannah has been playing great,” he said. “She played awesome all weekend and kept it going (Sunday). It was probably her best tennis of the weekend.”
Whitman came up empty in singles matches one through four even though the matchups at both No. 2 and No. 4 “could have gone either way,” Hein said. “They were really close.”
Jenna Dobrin lost a 6-1, 6-4 decision to Eastern’s Erin Blessing at No. 2 while Erin Bell bowed to Katrina Domingo, 6-4, 6-3 in No. 4 singles.
At the end of the day, Hein tipped his cap to the home team.
“Give them a lot of credit,” Hein said. “There were a lot of matches where they could have let up, but they took it to us every chance they could.”
Whitman ventures into the Willamette Valley this weekend for conference matches at George Fox on Saturday and Lewis & Clark Sunday.
“The weekend was great,” Hein said. “We swept in conference and did well against Eastern. I’m excited about this weekend and the one coming up.”