Whit Women's Tennis Takes Aim at NCAA DIII Tournament Spot
News Release Date:
Thursday, April 19, 2012
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College women's tennis team travels to western Oregon this weekend in search of a spot in the NCAA DIII national championship tournament.
Whitman, 15-4 on the season, is the No. 2 seed at the four-team Northwest Conference post-season tournament, which gets underway Saturday at Linfield College in McMinnville.
The first of two Saturday semifinals, which starts at 10 a.m., pits top-seeded Linfield (12-4) against fourth-seeded Willamette (7-9). Whitman then faces third-seeded Whitworth (13-5) at 2 p.m. in the other semifinal.
Saturday's two semifinal winners play at 10 a.m. Sunday for the NWC's automatic berth in the national championship field.
Whitman, which won 11 straight matches at one point this season, was 10-2 in the NWC, placing second in the standings for its highest finish since 2007.
One of Whitman's victories was a 6-3 triumph over Whitworth on March 31 in Spokane. The Missionaries seized command of that match early, winning all three battles in the opening round of doubles.
Whitman then rolled to quick wins in the top three slots in singles, building a 6-0 lead while clinching the team victory. With the match settled, Whitworth rallied to win three close decisions at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles.
If Whitman can get past Whitworth again on Saturday, it will in all likelihood face Linfield on Sunday with a ticket to nationals on the line. The Wildcats rolled to a 12-0 NWC season that included a 7-2 victory over Willamette, their opponent in Saturday's semifinal.
Whitman played Linfield twice this spring, falling 6-3 in February in McMinnville and 5-4 in Walla Walla two weeks ago. The Wildcats swept the opening round of doubles in both cases and then won enough matches in singles to get the team victories.
Look for junior Alyssa Roberg and two of her first-year teammates, sisters Courtney and Morgan Lawless, to lead the way for Whitman this weekend.
Roberg, who was named to the All-NWC First Team in each of her first two seasons, is 11-1 in singles this spring, playing most of those matches in the No. 1 slot. She is 8-0 in singles against conference foes.
Courtney Lawless, after losing her first match of the season to the No. 1 player from the NAIA's Lewis-Clark State, has reeled off 17 straight victories since then. She is 9-1 at No. 1 singles, 8-0 at the No. 2 spot and a perfect 11-0 against NWC opponents.
Morgan Lawless is 14-4 on the season while bouncing between the No. 3 and No. 3 rungs on the singles ladder. She is 11-1 in conference matches.
Roberg and Courtney Lawless are 12-2 at No. 1 doubles and 9-1 in their last 10 matches.
Morgan Lawless and senior Emily Rolston have rolled to a successful spring at No. 2 doubles, going 11-3 overall.
Other contributors for the Whitman women include senior Lizzy Schiller, junior Kate Kunkel-Patterson, sophomore Hannah Palkowitz and first-year Missionary Maddy Webster.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org