Women's Tennis Rallies, Slips By Pioneers

News Release Date:
Friday, March 5

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Talk about pushing your luck.

Down 2-1 after doubles and 4-1 early in singles play, the Whitman College women's tennis team picked off the final four decisions in singles to escape with a 5-4 victory over Lewis & Clark Friday afternoon in Portland, Ore.

The outcome left both teams with 4-2 records in the Northwest Conference, tied for fourth place. Both teams have now suffered through a pair of 5-4 losses to NWC opponents.

Whitman 5, LC 4

Match Scores

Lewis & Clark gained the early advantage in doubles, winning at No. 1 and No. 2.

"We played really well in doubles, so it was a shame to be down 2-1," Whitman coach John Hein said.

Kunkel-Patterson

At No. 1 doubles, Amalia Nilsson and Whitney DeBree squeaked past Whitman's Elise Otto and Alyssa Roberg by a 9-8 (8-6) score.

The Pioneers posted another close win at No. 2, where Lisa Harunaga and Isabelle Borris edged Missionaries Divneet Kaur and Emily Rolston 8-6. 

Hadley DeBree and Kate Kunkel-Patterson salvaged a team point for Whitman at No. 3, slipping past Jill Coleman and Maggie Peach 9-8 (7-5).

Lewis & Clark's lead ballooned to 4-1 after the Pioneers took the first two decisions in singles. Nilsson clipped Roberg 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1, and in a battle of the DeBree sisters at No. 3, Whitney outpointed Hadley 6-3, 6-0.

Otto started Whitman on its comeback with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Harunaga at No. 2 singles. Rolston narrowed the Missionary gap to 4-3 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 triumph over Coleman at No. 5.

Hadley DeBree

After a slow start at No. 4, Kaur evened the match at 4-4 with a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (9-7) victory over Borris. Kaur trailed 5-2 in the first set before bouncing back to nip her opponent.

"Div fought so well and played very smart tennis," Hein said.

Kunkel-Patterson, one of two first-year players in the Whitman line-up, then put the Missionaries over the top with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Peach at No. 6.

"Kate was a workhorse and really showed her improving game," Hein said.

"More than the victory, I was proud of our continued growth as a team," he said. "This was the most composed and fun match we've had this season. It's wonderful watching them enjoy these close battles that are so common in our conference this season."

Whitman faces another stiff challenge at 11 a.m. Saturday when it plays Willamette in Salem, Ore. 

After losing today to NWC-leading Whitworth, Willamette slipped to 6-2 in conference, tied for second place with Linfield.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu