Linfield Edges Bearcats in Lengthy Battle, 6-3

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Linfield College and Willamette University battled and battled throughout the evening on Thursday, Feb. 11, before the Wildcats held off the Bearcats, 6-3, at the Linfield Tennis Center. Linfield improved to 2-0 on the season, 2-0 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 1-1 overall, 1-1 in the NWC.

Linfield gained an early edge by winning two of the three doubles matches. The Wildcats faced additional challenges during the singles competition, but won the top four positions, including two three-set triumphs, to secure the overall victory.

Abby Olbrich of Linfield won #1 singles over Natalia Agarycheva (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) of Willamette in three sets. Olbrich had to rally after Agarycheva won the opening set 6-2. Olbrich claimed the second set 6-4 and won the third set 7-5.

The battle at #1 singles was just one example of the close matches played at several positions in both singles and doubles.

Willamette prevailed at #1 doubles, as Agarycheva and Shanon Palmer (So., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) outlasted Olbrich and Sallie Katter in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (7-5).

The Wildcats won #2 and #3 doubles. In the #2 match, Sarah Click and Sophie Larson slipped past Katie Huber Fr., St. Peter, MN/St. Peter HS) and Fabi Dieguez (Jr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS/Oregon State Univ.), 8-6. In the #3 match, Kiana Nip and Sarah Watanabe downed Alyssa Morrison (Sr., Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) and Kate Thurber (Fr., Salem, OR/South Salem HS), 8-5.

Katter of Linfield survived a battle with Palmer at #2 singles, eventually winning, 6-3, 7-5. At #3 singles, Larson recovered from a first-set loss to defeat Huber of Willamette, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Nip downed Dieguez of WU in the #4 singles match, 6-3, 6-3.

Willamette won #5 and #6 singles. Morrison defeated Click in straight sets at #5, winning 6-2, 6-3. Thurber was victorious at #6, as she rallied to defeat Watanabe in a super tie-breaker, 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.

The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 13, when they host George Fox University at the Courthouse Tennis Club at 1379 Madison NE in Salem, Ore. Match time is slated for 4 p.m. (PST).

Thursday, Feb. 11
At Linfield Tennis Center, McMinnville, Ore.

Linfield College 6, Willamette University 3

#1 - Abby Olbrich (LIN) defeated Natalia Agarycheva (WU), 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
#2 - Sallie Katter (LIN) defeated Shannon Palmer (WU), 6-3, 7-5
#3 - Sophie Larson (LIN) defeated Katie Huber (WU), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
#4 - Kiana Nip (LIN) defeated Fabi Dieguez (WU), 6-3, 6-3
#5 - Alyssa Morrison (WU) defeated Sarah Click (LIN), 6-2, 6-3
#6 - Kate Thurber (WU) defeated Sarah Watanabe (LIN), 4-6, 6-3, 10-8*

#1 - Agarycheva and Palmer (WU) defeated Olbrich and Katter (LIN), 9-8 (7-5)
#2 - Clic and Larson (LIN) defeated Huber and Dieguez (WU), 8-6
#3 - Nip and Watanabe (LIN) defeated Morrison and Thurber (WU), 8-5

* Tie-breaker played instead of a third set


Linfield College is 2-0 overall, 2-0 NWC. Willamette University is 1-1 overall, 1-1 NWC.

Linfield College 6
Willamette University 3
Shannon Palmer teamed with Natalia Agarycheva to win #1 doubles for Willamette in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (7-5).

Shannon Palmer teamed with Natalia Agarycheva to win #1 doubles for Willamette in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (7-5).