Willamette Battles Whitman in Loss to Top-Seeded Missionaries

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

YAKIMA, WASH. -- Whitman College defeated Willamette University, 5-1, in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Men's Tennis Tournament on Friday, April 17 at the Yakima Tennis Center. The score looks like an easy win for Whitman, but the Bearcats gave the Missionaries a solid battle.

Willamette's #1 doubles team of Cody Ferguson (Fr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) and Matt Houser (So., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) led the Bearcats with a 9-7 win over the previously undefeated team of Dan Wilson and Justin Hayashi. Wilson and Hayashi were 17-0 on the season before falling to Ferguson and Houser, who improved to 6-1 overall.

The Bearcats also played well at #2 and #3 doubles, earning a service break in each match. WU held a 6-3 lead at #2 and a 5-4 lead at #3, before Whitman rallied to win both matches.

At #2 doubles, Christoph Fuchs and Quin Miller of Whitman edged past Andrew Murakami (Sr., Wahiawa, HI/Leilehua HS/Univ. of Redlands) and Micah Mack (Jr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS), 8-6. In #3 doubles, Whitman's team of Chris Bailey and Nadeem Kassam slipped by Alex Sepenzis (Sr., Denver, CO/Cherry Creek HS) and Michael Moore (So., Seattle, WA/Lakeside HS), 8-6.

Whitman took #2, #3 and #4 singles to close out the match. Wilson defeated Ferguson, 6-3, 6-4, in the #2 match. At #3 singles, Kassam downed Houser, 6-2, 6-4. At #4 singles, Jake Cappel rallied past Sepenzis in the second set to prevail, 6-2, 7-5. Sepenzis reached set point before Cappel came back to win the second set.

Murakami won the first set at #1 singles over Bailey of Whitman, 6-2, but Bailey rallied to claim a 6-3 victory in the second set. The match went unfinished after Whitman clinched the team victory. Also unfinished were matches at #5 and #6 singles.

Willamette is now 10-8 on the season. The Bearcats, seeded #4, will take on Linfield College, seeded #3, in the third place match on Saturday, April 18 at 8 a.m. (PDT). Linfield fell to #2-seeded Pacific Lutheran University, 6-2, in the other semifinal match.

Whitman, 23-4 overall and ranked #26 in NCAA Division III, will play PLU in the NWC Championship match on Saturday, starting at 12 p.m. The Missionaries are the defending champions.

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

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

Whitman College 5, Willamette University 1

#1 - Chris Bailey (WTMN) vs. Andrew Murakami (WU), 2-6, 6-3, unfinished
#2 - Dan Wilson (WTMN) defeated Cody Ferguson (WU), 6-3, 6-4
#3 - Nadeem Kassam (WTMN) defeated Matt Houser (WU), 6-2, 6-4
#4 - Jake Cappel (WTMN) defeated Alex Sepenzis (WU), 6-2, 7-5
#5 - Adriel Borshanksky (WTMN) vs. Micah Mack (WU), 6-3, 4-1, unfinished
#6 - Quin Miller (WTMN) vs. Michael Moore (WU), 5-1, unfinished

#1 - Ferguson and Houser (WU) defeated Wilson and Hayashi (WTMN), 9-7
#2 - Christoph Fuchs and Miller (WTMN) defeated Murakami and Mack (WU), 8-6
#3 - Bailey and Kassam (WTMN) defeated Sepenzis and Moore (WU), 8-6

Whitman College is 23-4 overall. Willamette University is 10-8 overall.

Whitman College 5
Willamette University 1
NWC Tournament - Semifinals
Yakima, Wash.
Matt Houser (above) and Cody Ferguson defeated Whitman's previously unbeaten doubles team of Dan Wilson and Justin Hayashi.

Matt Houser (above) and Cody Ferguson defeated Whitman's previously unbeaten doubles team of Dan Wilson and Justin Hayashi.