Willamette Hits #10 in West Region Rankings

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's tennis team is ranked #10 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings for the West Region of NCAA Division III. The Bearcats moved up one spot from #11 in the previous ranking.

Willamette is 11-7 on the season, including 11-5 (3rd place tie) in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats are the #3 seed in this week's six-team NWC Tournament, which will be held at the Yakima Tennis Club in Yakima, Wash., on Friday, April 16 and Saturday, April 17.

The tournament will begin with two first round matches on Friday. In the opening match, Pacific Lutheran University (11-5 NWC), seeded #4, will battle Whitworth University (9-7), seeded #5, at 8 a.m. (PDT). Willamette will take on the University of Puget Sound (5-11), seeded #6, at 12 p.m.

WU and Puget Sound met on Feb. 20 in Salem, Ore., and on March 26 in Tacoma, Wash. The Bearcats won both meetings 7-2.

Top-seeded Whitman College (16-0) and #2-seeded Linfield College (13-3) received first round byes. Whitman will play the winner of the PLU versus Whitworth match in one semifinal, while Linfield will meet the winner of the Willamette versus UPS match in the other semifinal. Both of the semifinals are set for 3:30 p.m. (PDT) on Friday.

The fifth place place will be played on Saturday, April 17 at 8 a.m. (PDT). The third place match also will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, with the championship match set to begin at 12 p.m.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) is the #1 team in the West Region rankings. California Lutheran University is #2 and the University of California-Santa Cruz is #3. University of Redlands (Calif.) holds the #4 spot, while Whitman is ranked #5.

Whitman and Willamette are two of the five NWC teams ranked in the top 15 in the Region. Linfield is #9, while Pacific Lutheran is #12 and Whitworth is #15.

In addition to the Bearcats' team ranking, WU's freshmen duo of Joshua Wong (Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) and Michael Baumgarner (Albany, OR/West Albany HS) also are ranked in the West Region in singles. Wong is ranked #29 with a 13-4 overall record and Baumgartner is #30 with an overall record of 10-8.

Leading the West Region in singles is Andrew Giuffrida of California Lutheran. Robbie Eranic of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is #2 and Brian Pybas of UC-Santa Cruz is #3. The #1-ranked doubles team is Giuffrida and Nick Ballou of California Lutheran.

REGIONAL RANKINGS
Intercollegiate Tennis Association
Men's Tennis - West Region
Joshua Wong of Willamette is 13-4 and is ranked #29 in the West Region in singles.

Joshua Wong of Willamette is 13-4 and is ranked #29 in the West Region in singles.