Willamette Falls to Lewis & Clark at NWC Tournament, 5-4

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

YAKIMA, WASH. -- Willamette University lost to Lewis & Clark College, 5-4, in the first round of the Northwest Conference Women's Tennis Tournament on Friday, April 16 at the Yakima Tennis Club. Willamette will play Pacific University in the fifth place match on Friday at 3:30 p.m. (PDT). Whitman College shut out Pacific, 5-0, in the other first round match.

The Bearcats moved to 11-9 on the season. L&C improved to 10-13 overall.

Willamette's top doubles team of Natalia Agarycheva (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) and Shannon Palmer (So., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) won #1 doubles, but the Pioneers took #2 and #3 doubles to claim a 2-1 lead.

Agarycheva and Palmer moved past Lisa Harunaga and Isabelle Borris, 8-2 in the #1 doubles match. The win improved Agarycheva and Palmer, ranked #4 in the West Region in doubles, to 10-4 on the season.

Maggie Peach and Macrina Sharpe held off Emily Bee (So., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Kate Thurber (Fr., Salem, OR/South Salem HS) of Willamette, 8-5, for a close win at #3 doubles. Jill Coleman and Whitney DeBree of L&C won #2 doubles over Alyssa Morrison (Sr., Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) and Fabi Dieguez (So., Salem, OR/Sprague HS/Oregon State Univ.), 8-4.

Agarycheva, who is ranked #8 in the West Region, defeated Harunaga in the #1 singles match, 6-3, 6-1, to up her season record to 17-2. Palmer also recorded a victory for the Bearcats, as she easily downed Whitney DeBree in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

Morrison won the only three-set decision of the first round match at #5 singles, but L&C earned wins at #3, #4 and #6 singles to pull out the overall victory. Morrison edged past Peach, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2).

Borris at #3 singles and Sharpe at #6 singles registered close wins for the Pioneers. Borris narrowly defeated Katie Huber (Fr., St. Peter, MN/St. Peter HS), 7-5, 6-3, while Sharpe held off Bee, 6-4, 6-3.

Lewis & Clark will play regular season champion Whitworth University in one of the semifinal matches at 1 p.m. (PDT) on Friday. Whitman will take on Linfield College in the other semifinal starting at 12:45 p.m. on Friday. The NWC Championship match is set for 12 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, April 17.

Willamette placed fourth in the NWC based on the Bearcats' 10-6 record during the double round-robin conference schedule. The NWC Tournament is used only to determine which team receives the NWC's automatic qualification into the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Friday, April 16
NWC Tournament - 1st Round
At Yakima Tennis Club, Yakima, Wash.

Lewis & Clark College 5, Willamette University 4

#1 - Natalia Agarycheva (WU) defeated Lisa Harunaga (L&C), 6-3, 6-1
#2 - Shannon Palmer (WU) defeated Whitney DeBree (L&C), 6-1, 6-2
#3 - Isabelle Borris (L&C) defeated Katie Huber (WU), 7-5, 6-3
#4 - Jill Coleman (L&C) defeated Fabi Dieguez (WU), 6-0, 6-2
#5 - Alyssa Morrison (WU) defeated Maggie Peach (L&C), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2)
#6 - Macrina Sharpe (L&C) defeated Emily Bee (WU), 6-4, 6-3

#1 - Agarycheva and Palmer (WU) defeated Harunaga and Borris (L&C), 8-2
#2 - Coleman and DeBree (L&C) defeated Morrison and Dieguez (WU), 8-4
#3 - Peach and Sharpe (L&C) defeated Bee and Kate Thurber (WU), 8-5

Lewis & Clark College is 10-13 overall. Willamette University is 11-9 overall.

Lewis & Clark College 5
Willamette University 4
NWC Tournament - 1st Round
Shannon Palmer won #2 singles over Whitney DeBree, 6-1, 6-2.

Shannon Palmer won #2 singles over Whitney DeBree, 6-1, 6-2.