Bearcats Upend Pacific Lutheran, 6-3, improve to 4-0 in NWC

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University won two of three doubles matches and recorded victories at four of the six singles positions, as the Bearcats defeated Pacific Lutheran University in a key Northwest Conference match, 6-3, at the Courthouse Tennis Club on Friday, Feb. 26. Willamette improved to 4-0 in the NWC, while advancing its overall record to 4-2. Pacific Lutheran dropped to 5-2 overall, 5-2 in the NWC.

The Bearcats entered the match with a history of difficult matches against the Lutes.

"This was our first win over Pacific Lutheran in 15 or 20 years," Willamette Head Coach Toby Krauel said. The exact length of the losing streak was not readily available.

The Bearcats put an end to their string of losses to PLU by playing solid tennis throughout the match. WU won #2 and #3 doubles -- and almost picked up a win at #1 doubles -- as the Bearcats built a 2-1 lead.

Michael Baumgartner (Fr., Albany, OR/West Albany HS) and Luke Lagattuta (Sr., Albuquerque, NM/Highland HS) of WU won #2 doubles over Taylor Dickey and Brent Smoots, 8-4. At #3 doubles, the Willamette team of Matthew Houser (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) and Micah Mack (Sr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) downed Michael Manser and Scott Sheldon, 8-3.

At #1 doubles, PLU's team of Joel Trudel and Justin Peterson, ranked #12 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) fall national rankings for NCAA Division III, trailed Cody Ferguson (So., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) and Joshua Wong (Fr., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS), 7-6, before winning the match, 9-7.

In the top singles match, Baumgartner pulled off an upset over Trudel, who reached the ITA Small College quarterfinals in the fall. Baumgartner prevailed, 6-3, 6-3. Willamette also earned wins at #3, #4 and #5 singles to secure the overall victory.

Wong defeated Manser at #3 singles, 6-2, 6-4, while House surged by Sheldon at #4 singles, 6-2, 6-2. Lagattuta triumphed at #5 singles, 6-2, -64, over Dickey.

Peterson edged out Ferguson in a close match at #2 singles. Peterson won the first set in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-4), and completed the victory with a 6-4 win in the second set.

Willamette and Pacific Lutheran entered the match ranked in the West Region of NCAA Division III. PLU was ranked #9 while Willamette was listed at #14.

The Bearcats will travel to Portland, Ore., to take on Lewis & Clark College in a Northwest Conference match on Sunday, Feb. 28. Match time is set for 3 p.m. (PST).

Friday, Feb. 26
At Courthouse Tennis Club, Salem, Ore.

Willamette University 6, Pacific Lutheran University 3

Singles
#1 - Michael Baumgartner (WU) defeated Joel Trudel (PLU), 6-3, 6-3
#2 - Justin Peterson (PLU) defeated Cody Ferguson (WU), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
#3 - Joshua Wong (WU) defeated Michael Manser (PLU), 6-2, 6-4
#4 - Matthew Houser (WU) defeated Scott Sheldon (PLU), 6-2, 6-2
#5 - Luke Lagattuta (WU) defeated Taylor Dickey (PLU), 6-2, 6-4
#6 - Brent Smoots (PLU) defeated Nathan Ramos (WU), 6-1, 6-2

Doubles
#1 - Trudel and Peterson (PLU) Ferguson and Wong (WU), 9-7
#2 - Baumgartner and Lagattuta (WU) defeated Dickey and Smoots (PLU), 8-4
#3 - Houser and Micah Mack (WU) defeated Manser and Sheldon (PLU), 8-3

Records:
Willamette University is 4-2 overall, 4-0 NWC. Pacific Lutheran University is 5-2 overall, 5-2 NWC.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 6
Pacific Lutheran University 3
Micah Mack and teammate Matt Houser won #3 doubles for Willamette by defeating Michael Manser and Scott Sheldon, 8-3.

Micah Mack and teammate Matt Houser won #3 doubles for Willamette by defeating Michael Manser and Scott Sheldon, 8-3.