Bearcats Defeat Whitworth, 5-3, in First Round of NWC Tournament

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

YAKIMA, WASH. -- Willamette University recorded a team victory in the first round of the Northwest Conference Men's Tennis Tournament for the third year in a row, as the Bearcats defeated Whitworth University, 5-3, at the Yakima Tennis Center on Friday, April 17. Willamette, seeded #4 in the tournament, improved to 10-7 on the season. The 'Cats are playing top-seeded Whitman College this afternoon in the NWC Semifinals.

Willamette won #1 and #2 doubles for a 2-1 lead. The Bearcats secured the overall victory by adding triumphs at #1, #2 and #3 singles. Action at #6 singles was left unfinished when Willamette reached five points for the team win.

Andrew Murakami (Sr., Wahiawa, HI/Leilehua HS/Univ. of Redlands) picked up a key win for the Bearcats at #1 singles when he claimed two tie-breakers to defeat Michael Shelton, 7-6, 7-6. Tie-breaker scores were not immediately available.

Murakami and Micah Mack (Jr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) combined to win #2 doubles over Colin Zalewski and Henry Williams of Whitworth, 8-2.

The closest doubles match was at the #1 position, where Willamette's Cody Ferguson (Fr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) and Matt Houser (So., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) outlasted Shelton and Joe Wales, 9-7. Whitworth was victorious at #3 doubles.

Willamette's strength in the top half of the singles bracket secured the overall win. In addition to Murakami's thrilling win over Shelton, the Bearcats also received wins from Ferguson at #2 singles and Houser at #3 singles. Ferguson downed Wales, 6-2, 6-0, while Houser defeated Zalewski, 6-3, 7-5.

The Pirates gained two wins in singles. Williams defeated Alex Sepenzis (Sr., Denver, CO/Cherry Creek HS), 6-2, 6-0. Kellen Oetgen triumphed over Mack, 6-2, 7-5. Michael Moore (So., Seattle, WA/Lakeside HS) of Willamette was up a set against Colin Barrett, 6-3, 2-2 when the overall match ended.

Action in the NWC Tournament will conclude on Saturday, April 18. Willamette will play in either the championship match at 12 p.m. (PDT) or the third place match at 8 a.m.

For more information about the NWC Tournament, go to the NWC Tournament website.

Friday, April 17
At Yakima Tennis Center, Yakima, Wash.

Willamette University 5, Whitworth University 3

Singles
#1 - Andrew Murakami (WU) defeated Michael Shelton (WHTW), 7-6, 7-6
#2 - Cody Ferguson (WU) defeated Joe Wales (WHTW), 6-2, 6-0
#3 - Matt Houser (WU) defeated Colin Zalewski (WHTW), 6-3, 7-5
#4 - Henry Williams (WHTW) defeated Alex Sepenzis (WU), 6-2, 6-0
#5 - Kellen Oetgen (WHTW) defeated Micah Mack (WU), 6-2, 7-5
#6 - Michael Moore (WU) vs. Colin Barrett (WHTW), 6-3, 2-2, unfinished

Doubles
#1 - Ferguson and Houser (WU) defeated Shelton and Wales (WHTW), 9-7
#2 - Murakami and Mack (WU) defeated Zalewski and Williams (WHTW), 8-2
#3 - Oetgen and Barrett (WHTW) defeated Sepenzis and Moore (WU), 8-4

Records:
Willamette University is 10-7 overall. Whitworth University is 10-12 overall.

MATCH RESULTS
Willamette University 5
Whitworth University 3
NWC Tournament - 1st Round
Yakima, Wash.
Andrew Murakami earned wins at #1 singles and #2 doubles to help Willamette move past Whitworth, 5-3, at the NWC Tournament.

Andrew Murakami earned wins at #1 singles and #2 doubles to help Willamette move past Whitworth, 5-3, at the NWC Tournament.