Bearcats to Battle Pirates in First Round of NWC Tournament

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

YAKIMA, WASH. -- The Willamette University men's tennis team will open the Northwest Conference Tournament against Whitworth University on Friday, April 17 at the Yakima Tennis Center. Willamette, the #4 seed, and Whitworth, the #5 seed, split their regular season meetings, with the Bearcats winning, 5-4, in Salem, Ore., and the Pirates, winning, 5-4, in Spokane, Wash.

The winner of Friday's first round match will advance into the NWC semifinals to take on top-seeded Whitman College at 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The loser of the match between Willamette and Whitworth will play again at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, against the loser between Linfield College, the #3 seed, and the University of Puget Sound, the #6 seed.

During the season, Willamette has been strong at the top of its singles lineup. Cody Ferguson (Fr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) has played eight of 16 matches at #1 singles and is 9-7 overall.

Andrew Murakami (Sr., Wahiawa, HI/Leilehua HS/Univ. of Redlands), with seven matches at #1, has achieved a 10-6 overall mark. Murakami advanced to the semifinals of the Wilson/ITA Small College Northwest Regional last fall.

Matt Houser (So., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS), who has played primarily #3 singles, is 11-5. Ferguson is 11-5 in doubles, while Murakami and Houser are both 10-6. Willamette has won four of its last five matches.

Head Coach Toby Krauel is in his first season with the Bearcats. He was the head coach at Gonzaga University for seven year from 1993 to 2000. He developed Gonzaga's team into a quality men's tennis program.

Action at the NWC Tournament will continue through Saturday, April 18. Whitman is the defending champion.

April 17-18, 2009
At Yakima Tennis Center
Yakima, Wash.

Willamette is 9-7 overall, with all 16 games against NWC opponents. Whitworth is 10-11 overall, 9-7 in the NWC.

Cody Ferguson is 11-5 in doubles and 9-7 in singles for the Bearcats this season.

Cody Ferguson is 11-5 in doubles and 9-7 in singles for the Bearcats this season.