Bearcats Move Past Pirates for 5-4 Victory

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's tennis team picked up a key Northwest Conference victory by rallying past the Pirates of Whitworth University, 5-4, on Saturday, April 10 at the WU Tennis Courts. Willamette improved to 10-7 overall, 10-5 in the NWC. Whitworth fell to 9-13 on the season, 9-5 in the NWC.

The Bearcats trailed 2-1 after doubles, but earned victories at the top four singles positions to take the match. Matthew Houser (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) provided the deciding win with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Joe Wales at #4 singles. The win by Houser gave WU a 5-3 lead.

With the team victory, the Bearcats are still capable of claiming a tie for third place in the NWC regular season standings. If Willamette wins at Pacific University on April 13, the Bearcats will tie Pacific Lutheran University (11-5) for third place, but will hold the tie-breaker over the Lutes for NWC Tournament seeding.

Whitworth also can tie for third place, but the Pirates must defeat league-leading Whitman College in a pair of regular season matches on Sunday, April 11 in order to catch PLU. Willamette owns the tie-breaker in the event of a three-way tie.

Leading Willamette's string of wins from #1 through #4 singles was Joshua Wong (Fr., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) who triumphed in the #1 match. Wong defeated Michael Shelton, 6-3, 6-0. Shelton was ranked #26 in singles in the West Region of NCAA Division III.

Michael Baumgartner (Fr., Albany, OR/West Albany HS), ranked #16 in the West Region, won #2 singles for the Bearcats, while Cody Ferguson (So., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) added a win at #3 singles. Houser's win at #4 completed the top-four sweep.

Whitworth recorded wins at #5 and #6 singles. Henry Williams outlasted Luke Lagattuta (Sr., Albuquerque, NM/Highland HS) in the #5 match, winning in a pair of highly-competitive sets, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Colin Barrett earned the win at #6 singles.

Earlier, the Pirates claimed a slim lead by winning #1 and #3 doubles, while WU took #2 doubles. The #1 doubles match was won by Shelton and Colin Zalewski over Wong and Ferguson, 8-6. Houser and Micah Mack (Sr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) registered an 8-5 win for Willamette at #2 doubles, as they defeated Cameron Williams and Wales.

Saturday, April 10
At WU Tennis Courts, Salem, Ore.

Willamette University 5, Whitworth University 4

#1 - Joshua Wong (WU) defeated Michael Shelton (WHTW), 6-3, 6-0
#2 - Michael Baumgartner (WU) defeated Colin Zalewski (WHTW), 7-5, 6-4
#2 - Cody Ferguson (WU) defeated Cameron Williams (WHTW), 7-5, 6-2
#4 - Matthew Houser (WU) defeated Joe Wales (WHTW), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5)
#5 - Henry Williams (WHTW) defeated Luke Lagattuta (WU), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
#6 - Colin Barrett (WHTW) defeated Micah Mack (WU), 6-0, 6-2

#1 - Shelton and Zalewski (WHTW) defeated Wong and Ferguson (WU), 8-6
#2 - Houser and Mack (WU) defeated Cameron Williams and Wales (WHTW), 8-5
#3 - Henry Williams and Barrett (WHTW) defeated Baumgartner and Lagattuta (WU), 8-5

Willamette University is 10-7 overall, 10-5 NWC. Whitworth University is 9-13 overall, 9-5 NWC.

Willamette University 5
Whitworth University 4
Matthew Houser earned Willamette's fifth point of the match with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) win over Joe Wales at #4 singles.

Matthew Houser earned Willamette's fifth point of the match with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) win over Joe Wales at #4 singles.