Puget Sound Edges Willamette, 5-4, in Preview of NWC Tournament

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Two evenly matched teams battled throughout the lineup, before the visiting University of Puget Sound edged Willamette University, 5-4, in Northwest Conference men's tennis action on Saturday, April 14 at the Courthouse Tennis Club. The match was a preview of next week's NWC Tournament, where the teams will meet for the third time this season.

Puget Sound, 9-8 overall and 9-7 in the NWC, is the #4 seed for the tournament, while Willamette, 9-9 overall and 8-7 in the NWC will be the #5 seed. With two 5-4 victories over the Bearcats, UPS has the tie-breaker if Willamette defeats Linfield College (11-4 in the NWC) in the Bearcats' regular season finale on Sunday, April 15 at McMinnville, Ore.

The NWC Tournament will be played in Yakima, Wash., on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21. In the first round, the top two seeds (Whitman, 16-0; Pacific Lutheran, 14-2) will receive byes, with the #3 seed (Linfield) taking on the #6 seed (Whitworth, 5-10) and the #4 seed (UPS) facing the #5 seed (Willamette).

In their second regular season meeting between Willamette and UPS on Saturday, the match was decided at #4 singles, where Jamie Hosmer of UPS slipped past Shaun Mihalick (Sr., Mukilteo, WA/Eastlake HS), 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3). Mihalick held leads of 4-3 and 5-4 in the third set, before Hosmer won consecutive games for a 6-5 advantage. Mihalick won the next game to force a tie-breaker, then took a 2-0 lead. Hosmer reeled off four consecutive points for a 4-2 margin, on his way to a 7-3 win in the tie-breaker.

The Bearcats took a 2-1 lead over the Loggers by winning #1 and #2 doubles. In the #1 doubles match, Eric MacMillan (Jr., Twin Falls, ID/Twin Falls HS) and Mihalick defeated Sam McCullugh and Jamie Hosmer, 8-4. At #2 doubles, Donovan LeDoux (Fr., Keizer, OR/McNary HS) and Micah Mack (Fr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) edged Andrew Neal and Kei Sato, 8-6.

Four of the six singles matches were decided in a third set. All four of the three-set matches were won by Puget Sound. In the #1 singles match, Neal rallied from a set down to defeat LeDoux, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. At #2 singles, Nick Amland of UPS also lost the first set, before earning a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over MacMillan.

Willamette picked up straight-set wins at #3 singles and #6 singles. Fitz Paccione (Jr., Encinitas, CA/Cathedral Catholic) defeated McCullugh at #3 singles, 7-5, 7-5. Mack won #6 singles by downing Scooter Sabel, 6-4, 6-4.

Saturday, April 14, 2007
At Salem, Ore.

University of Puget Sound 5, Willamette University 4

#1 - Andrew Neal (UPS) defeated Donovan LeDoux (WU), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
#2 - Nick Amland (UPS) defeated Eric MacMillan (WU), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
#3 - Fitz Paccione (WU) defeated Sam McCullugh (UPS), 7-5, 7-5
#4 - Jamie Hosmer (UPS) defeated Shaun Mihalick (WU), 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)
#5 - Kei Sato (UPS) defeated Ethan Heinrich (WU), 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
#6 - Micah Mack (WU) defeated Scooter Sabel (UPS), 6-4, 6-4

#1 - MacMillan and Mihalick (WU) defeated McCullugh and Hosmer (UPS), 8-4
#2 - LeDoux and Mack (WU) defeated Neal and Sato (UPS), 8-6
#3 - Amland and Andrew Oates (UPS) defeated Paccione and Heinrich (WU), 8-5

Records: Willamette is 9-9 overall, 8-7 in the NWC; Puget Sound is 9-8 overall, 9-7 in the NWC