Men's Tennis Wins Conference Opener 7 - 2 over Willamette
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The #13 Whitman men's tennis team started its NWC title defense with a resounding 7-2 victory over the Willamette University Bearcats. Though the Bearcats are currently ranked 19th in the West region, the Missionaries squashed any thoughts of an upset early.
Sam Sadeghi, Sr.
In the doubles portion, senior Matt Tesmond (Cincinatti, OH) and junior Andy Riggs (Auburn, CA) cruised to an 8-0 victory over Willamette's Will Cooper and Devin Abney at the No. 2 spot. Sophomore Colton Malesovas (Austin, TX) and freshman Noah Lee (Forestville, CA) quickly made it 2-0 Whitman with an 8-1 victory over Jack Schreiber and Shrujan Kalidindi at No. 3. Whitman's only setback came at the No. 1 position where senior Sam Sadeghi (Burbank, CA) and junior Andrew La Cava (Bellevue, WA) squandered an early break to lose to Willamette senior Josh Wong and Samuel Wexman in a tiebreaker, 8-9 (3-7).
Taking the 2-1 lead into singles, the two teams sent numbers 1, 3, 5, and 6 outside while the rest of the team stayed inside at the Bratton Tennis Center. The Whit men quickly put the match out of reach. At No. 2 singles, La Cava cruised by Cooper 6-2, 6-2. Sadeghi made quick work of Wexman in a 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 3. Junior Steven Roston (San Carlos, CA) easily dispatched Abney by a 6-0, 6-3 count at No. 4. At No. 5, Willamette's Schreiber managed to break Riggs while he was attempting to serve out the first set, but Riggs recovered for a 6-4, 6-1 win. Finally, Noah Lee blanked Colin Yamaguchi 6-0, 6-0 at the top spot.
Noah Lee, Fr.
Once more, Willamette's Wong exhibited his penchant for ousting Whitman's best. The senior topped four Whitman starters in the Fall Regional tournament, and was up to his old tricks again today at the No. 1 spot. Wong, ranked 18th in the nation and 6th in the West region, jumped out to a 6-3 4-1 lead on Whitman's Malesovas. The 10th-ranked sophomore clawed his way back to 6-6 before rain set in during the ensuing tiebreaker. Forced to finish the breaker inside, Malesovas took advantage of a couple Wong errors to level the match. Malesovas proceeded to take an early break in the 3rd set, but Wong rattled off three straight games to take the lead for good in a 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3 win. Wong's victory avenged his loss in the regional finals from the fall, and made the final tally 7-2 for Whitman.
The win was Whitman's 91st consecutive regular season conference victory. The Missionaries will put the streak on the line again next weekend when they take to the road for matches against Linfield, Lewis and Clark, and George Fox. Whitman beat George Fox in the conference finals last season, and they figure to be Whitman's toughest competition in their quest to repeat. Follow Coach Jeff Northam (@northam) on Twitter for match updates.
A majority of this story was written by Robert Holton-Burke
Final: Whitman 7 Willamette 2
1. WU Joshua Wong/Samuel Wexman def. WC Andrew La Cava/Sam Sadeghi 8 - 9 (7 - 3)
2. WC Matt Tesmond/Andy Riggs def. WU Will Cooper/Devin Abney 8 - 0
3. WC Noah Lee/ Colton Malesovas def. WU Jack Schreiber/Shrujan Kalidindi 8 - 1
1. WU Wong def. WC Colton Malesovas 6 - 3, 3 - 6, 6 - 3
2. WC La Cava def. WU Cooper 6 - 2, 6 - 2
3. WC Sadeghi def. WU Wexman 6 - 0, 6 - 1
4. WC Steven Roston def. WU Abney 6 - 0, 6 - 3
5. WC Riggs def. WU Schreiber 6 - 4, 6 - 1
6. WC Lee def. WU Colin Yamaguchi 6 -0, 6 - 0.
Whitman Sports Information Director