Bearcats Rally in Singles to Edge Whitworth, 5-4

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Two big comebacks in singles play enabled Willamette University to rally past Whitworth University for a 5-4 victory in Northwest Conference men's tennis action on Friday, March 5. Whitworth owned a 2-1 advantage following doubles, but the Bearcats won four of six singles matches to slip past the Pirates.

The Bearcats improved to 6-2 on the season and remained undefeated in the NWC at 6-0. Other undefeated NWC teams are Linfield College at 5-0 and Whitman College at 3-0. Whitworth moved to 2-7 overall, 2-3 in the NWC. All three of the Pirates' losses in the conference have been by 5-4 scores.

Willamette's Luke Lagattuta (Sr., Albuquerque, NM/Highland HS) trailed 4-1 in his first set at #5 singles before taking the set and rallying for the win, 6-4, 6-4, over Henry Williams. It proved to be the decisive match after all of the other singles matches ended with the teams tied 4-4.

Cody Ferguson (So., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) also helped the Bearcats by climbing out of a 5-0 deficit in the first set at #2 singles against Colin Zalewski. Ferguson won the set, 7-6 (7-5), and eventually prevailed in the match. He claimed the second set, 6-2.

Whitworth gained its early margin by winning #1 and #2 doubles. The top match went to Michael Shelton and Zalewski, 8-5, over Ferguson and Joshua Wong (Fr., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) of Willamette. At #2 doubles, Cameron Williams and Joe Wales downed Michael Baumgartner (Fr., Albany, OR/West Albany HS) and Lagattuta, 8-5.

The Bearcats kept the team score close, however, as Matthew Houser (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) and Micah Mack (Sr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) held off Henry Williams and Colin Barrett of Whitworth at #3 doubles, 9-7.

Shelton triumphed at #1 singles in three sets over Baumgartner. The first set went to Baumgartner, 6-1, but Shelton recovered to win the next two sets 6-3 and 6-2.

Willamette swept the #2 through #5 positions in singles, relying on the comeback victories by Ferguson and Lagattuta to finalize the overall win. Also winning for the Bearcats were Wong at #3 singles and Houser at #4 singles. Kellen Oetgen of Whitworth outlasted Mack in the #6 singles match, 6-3, 6-4.

The Bearcats will remain in the State of Washington to take on Whitman on Saturday, March 6. Match time in Walla Walla is set for 2 p.m. (PST).

Friday, March 5
At Scotford Tennis Center, Spokane, Wash.

Willamette University 5, Whitworth University 4

Singles
#1 - Michael Shelton (WHTW) defeated Michael Baumgartner (WU), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
#2 - Cody Ferguson (WU) defeated Colin Zalewski (WHTW), 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
#3 - Joshua Wong (WU) defeated Cameron Williams (WHTW), 6-1, 6-2
#4 - Matthew Houser (WU) defeated Joe Wales (WHTW), 6-3, 6-4
#5 - Luke Lagattuta (WU) defeated Henry Williams (WHTW), 6-4, 6-4
#6 - Kellen Oetgen (WHTW) defeated Micah Mack (WU), 6-3, 6-4

Doubles
#1 - Shelton and Zalewski (WHTW) defeated Ferguson and Wong (WU), 8-5
#2 - Cameron Williams and Wales (WHTW) defeated Baumgartner and Lagattuta (WU), 8-5
#3 - Houser and Mack (WU) defeated Henry Williams and Colin Barrett (WHTW), 9-7

Records:
Willamette University is 6-2 overall, 6-0 NWC. Whitworth University is 2-7 overall, 2-3 NWC.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 5
Whitworth University 4
Luke Lagattuta rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to defeat Henry Williams at #5 singles, 6-4, 6-4.

Luke Lagattuta rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to defeat Henry Williams at #5 singles, 6-4, 6-4.