Early Lead Carries Whit Women Over Pios
News Release Date:
Saturday, April 10
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- After winning five of the first six team points to clinch the victory, Whitman College closed out Lewis & Clark 6-3 in women's tennis action Saturday afternoon on the outdoor campus courts.
Whitman, now 11-4 in the Northwest Conference, took the early lead by winning two of three matches in doubles. The Missionaries then claimed the first three decisions in singles to extend their lead to an insurmountable 5-1.
Lewis & Clark, which ended the NWC regular season with a 9-7 record, won two of the remaining three singles matches to close the final gap.
Whitman stays at home Sunday to conclude its regular season with a 9 a.m. match against Willamette. The Bearcats slipped to 10-5 in the NWC with a 6-3 loss today to Whitworth in Spokane.
The Missionaries can clinch third place in the final standings, and the No. 3 seed in next week's conference tournament, by beating Willamette on Sunday. Earlier this season in Salem, Ore., Whitman downed the Bearcats 6-3.
Willamette can finish in a third-place tie with the Missionaries with a victory on Sunday. The Bearcats also can take the No. 3 tournament seed by beating Whitman by a 7-2 (or more lopsided) score.
In Saturday's match against Lewis & Clark,Whitman grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the team scoring with victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles.
Sophomore Emily Rolston and first-year teammate Kate Kunkel-Patterson cruised to an 8-2 victory in the third slot, but seniors Hadley DeBree and Divneet Kaur had to battle back after losing five of their first seven games at No. 2.
Trailing 5-2, DeBree and Kaur picked off the next six games for an 8-5 victory over Whitney DeBree (Hadley's younger sister) and Jill Coleman.
Moments after Kaur and DeBree finished their comeback victory, running their season record as a doubles combo to 12-2 (8-0 against NWC opponents), Whitman junior Elise Otto held serve to square the No. 1 doubles match at 6-6.
With Lewis & Clark's Isabelle Borris serving, Otto and first-year teammate Alyssa Roberg then battled through a long deuce game for a service break that moved the Missionaries to within a game of victory at 7-6.
But Borris and partner Lisa Harunaga responded by taking the next two games for an 8-7 lead. Otto held serve to even the slate at 8-8 and send the match to a tie-breaker.
With the tie-breaker tied at 2-2, Harunaga and Borris won the next three points and then finished off a 9-8 (7-4) triumph.
The first two matches to finish in singles came at No. 4, where Kaur was a 6-1, 6-0 winner, and at No. 2, where Otto got past Whitney DeBree 6-2, 6-0.
Roberg notched the clinching point for Whitman with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Harunaga at No. 1 singles.
Kunkel-Patterson picked up Whitman's sixth point with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 6.
Borris won for the Pioneers at No. 3 singles, beating Hadley DeBree 6-0, 7-5, and Lewis & Clark's Maggie Peach rallied for a 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 triumph over Rolston at No. 5.
Lewis & Clark, which played this weekend without its top player (Amalia Nilsson) due to injury, will be the No. 5 seed at next week's conference tournament.
The tournament winner gets the NWC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national championship tournament.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com