Willamette and Whitman to Meet in First Round of NWC Tournament

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

YAKIMA, WASH. -- After building some momentum with a 4-2 finish to the regular season, the Willamette University women's tennis team will open the Northwest Conference Tournament against Whitman College on Friday, April 11 at the Yakima Tennis Center. The match is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. (PDT).

Whitman, 13-8 overall and 12-4 in the NWC, is seed #3. Willamette, 8-11 overall and 7-9 in the NWC, is seeded #6. The winner will advance into the semifinals to take on #2-seeded Linfield College. Whitworth University is the #1 seed.

The loser between Willamette and Whitman will battle the loser of the first round match between Lewis & Clark College, the #4 seed, and Pacific University, the #5 seed. The loser's bracket match will be played at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 18.

Willamette's #1 singles player, Shannon Palmer (Fr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) has competed against many of the top players in the conference and has a 9-6 overall record. Palmer reached the finals of the Wilson/ITA Small College Northwest Regional last fall.

Jamie Slonaker (So., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) of Willamette is 8-5 in singles, including 6-2 at the #5 position. Palmer and Slonaker are 3-2 at #1 doubles for the Bearcats. Abby Funabiki (Sr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS/Quinnipiac University) and Alyssa Morrison (Jr., Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) are 4-1 for WU at #2 doubles.

Head Coach Becky Roberts is in her ninth season with the Bearcats. She previously coached the men's and women's tennis teams at the University of Texas at San Antonio for 19 years.

The NWC Tournament will continue through Saturday, April 18. Linfield is the defending champion.

April 17-18, 2009
At Yakima Tennis Center
Yakima, Wash.
WU freshman Shannon Palmer is 9-6 at #1 singles this spring.

WU freshman Shannon Palmer is 9-6 at #1 singles this spring.