Bearcats Sweep Doubles, Defeat Pirates, 6-3, in Opener

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Willamette University won all three highly contested doubles matches against Whitworth University on Saturday, Feb. 19, starting the Bearcats on their way to a 6-3 victory in Northwest Conference action. Willamette, playing its season opener, moved to 1-0 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC. The Pirates dropped to 2-4, 1-1 in the NWC.

"This was an impressive first win of the season," Willamette Head Coach Toby Krauel said. "The Whitworth match is an 800-mile round trip, where we have to play at elevation in a three-court bubble, so it takes six to seven hours to compete.

"The elevation effects the flight of the tennis ball ... it moves faster and flies longer because the air is thinner," Krauel added.

Cody Ferguson (Jr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) and Michael Baumgartner (So., Albany, OR/West Albany HS) led Willamette's charge in doubles, as they won the #1 match over Colin Zalewski and Joe Wales of Whitworth, 8-5.

At #2 doubles, Joshua Wong (So., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) and Garrett Vincent (Fr., Seattle, WA/Seattle Prep/Bellevue CC) combined for a 9-7 win against Daniel Redfern and Colin Barrett. The #3 doubles match was claimed by Matt Houser (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) and Will Cooper (Fr., Gresham, OR/Centennial HS), who prevailed against Cameron Williams and Henry Williams, 8-6.

"The guys brought great energy in the doubles and we got off to a great start," Krauel said.

Willamette's 3-0 lead increased to 5-1 after the Bearcats won two of the top three singles matches, which were played prior to the #4, #5 and #6 matches on the three indoor courts at the Scotford Tennis Center.

Redfern of Whitworth edged out Ferguson at #1 singles, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), but the Bearcats earned victories at #2 and #3 singles. In the #2 match, Wong downed Zalewski in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. In the #3 match, Baumgartner held off Wales, 6-3, 6-4.

The final three singles matches were all tied after two sets. Each of the three matches was decided by a super tie-breaker instead of a third set since Willamette already had clinched the team victory.

Even so, the last few matches of the day were extremely competitive. At #4, Cameron Williams of Whitworth rallied past Houser, 4-6, 6-1, 10-4. At #5, Barrett achieved a win for the Pirates, as he survived a marathon match with Vincent, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (3-7), 14-12. At #6, Cooper won for Willamette with a 7-5, 2-6, 10-6 decision against Micah Spaun.

"Will was playing in his first match as a college athlete and played great tennis," Krauel said.

Cooper joined Wong and Baumgartner as Bearcats who earned wins in both singles and doubles.

The Bearcats will play their first regular season home match of the year on Monday, Feb. 21 against defending NWC champion Whitman College. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. (PST) at the Courthouse Tennis Club (1379 Madison St. NE in Salem, Ore.).

Last year, Whitman won the regular season title and defeated Willamette in the championship match of the NWC Tournament.

Willamette University 6
Whitworth University 3
Michael Baumgatner was victorious for Willamette at #3 singles and #1 doubles.

Michael Baumgatner was victorious for Willamette at #3 singles and #1 doubles.

Joshua Wong earned wins at #2 singles and #2 doubles against the Pirates.

Joshua Wong earned wins at #2 singles and #2 doubles against the Pirates.