Agarycheva Falls to Mertz of Hardin-Simmons at USTA/ITA National Championships

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

MOBILE, ALA. -- Willamette University senior women's tennis player Natalia Agarycheva (Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/Univ. of Northern Colorado) was defeated by Lisa Mertz from Hardin-Simmons University (Texas), 6-3, 6-4, in the preliminary round of the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

"Natalia hung in there and played a good match," Willamette Head Coach Becky Roberts said. "Mertz just got a lot of balls back ... like she was a wall."

The win advanced Mertz into the tournament's main draw, which includes the winners of all eight NCAA Division III regions in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Northwest and Southwest regional tournaments were technically parts of one region, so the two regional champions, Agarycheva (Northwest) and Mertz (Southwest), had to meet in a play-in match.

Mertz is scheduled to play Laura Chen of Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) on Thursday, Oct. 14, as the main draw gets underway. With the loss, Agarycheva was eliminated from the bracket.

Agarycheva reached the USTA/ITA Small College Championships by defeating Abby Olbrich of Linfield College in the singles final of the Northwest Regional on Sept. 27. Agarycheva downed Olbrich, 7-5, 6-4.

Natalia Agarycheva represented Willamette at the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships in Mobile, Ala.

Natalia Agarycheva represented Willamette at the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships in Mobile, Ala.