Agarycheva Falls to Olbrich in Three Sets in Championship Match at ITA Regional

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Natalia Agarycheva (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/Univ. of Northern Colorado) of Willamette University lost to Abby Olbrich of Linfield College in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the finals of the Wilson/ITA Small College Northwest Regional Women's Tennis Championship on Monday, Oct. 5. Agarycheva and Shannon Palmer (So., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) reached the finals in doubles before losing to Olbrich and Sallie Katter, 8-6.

Agarycheva won five singles matches prior to the finals. She claimed her first four wins on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, she defeated Cat Goya of Pacific University, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals, then faced Olbrich for the title.

"I received a lot of compliments on her play," Willamette Head Coach Becky Roberts said about Agarycheva. "She showed a lot of sportsmanship this weekend. She really hasn't played a lot of college tennis, so she's a bit like a freshman, only with more skill."

Olbrich downed Palmer in the quarterfinals, 7-5, 6-0. In the semifinals, Olbrich defeated Rachel Burns of Whitworth University, 6-2, 6-3.

Agarycheva and Palmer were victorious in four matches on their way to the championship match in doubles. They defeated Megan Wingfield and Claire Hemming of Whitworth in the first round, 8-2, and quickly moved past Hailey Rile and Tina Aarsvold of Pacific Lutheran University, 8-0, in the Round of 16.

In the quarterfinals, Agarycheva and Palmer held off Sophie Larson and Sarah Click of Linfield, 9-7. In the semifinals, they edged out Alyssa Roberg and Divneet Kaur of Whitman College, 8-6.

Also for Willamette in doubles, Katie Huber (Fr., St. Peter, MN/St. Peter HS) and Alyssa Morrison (Sr., Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS), as well as Kate Thurber (Fr., Salem, OR/South Salem HS) and Fabi Dieguez (So., Salem, OR/Sprague HS/Oregon State Univ.), won first round matches before falling in the Round of 16.

In singles, Huber won two matches, then fell to teammate Agarycheva in the Round of 16. Morrison and Dieguez also achieved victories in the first round, but lost highly regarded opponents in Roberg and Larson, respectively. Palmer won three matches, including a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Hadley DeBree in the Round of 16.

"Shannon is a fighter, she's intense, and she works hard out there," Roberts said. "She played a little better every match."

Willamette's next action will be in the spring during the dual match season. The Bearcats compete in the Northwest Conference.

"We're pleased, and we're going to work hard and get ready for the spring. We felt like we had a really great weekend. It's going to be a very competitive spring season within our conference."

The Northwest Region will be represented by Olbrich in singles, and by Olbrich and Katter in doubles, at the Wilson/ITA National Small College Championships. The event is set for Oct. 15-18 at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.


Wilson/ITA Small College
Northwest Regional
Hosted by Linifeld College
McMinnville, Ore.
Oct. 3-5, 2009

Shannon Palmer combined with Natalia Agarycheva to reach the doubles final at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional.

Shannon Palmer combined with Natalia Agarycheva to reach the doubles final at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional.