Willamette Wins Battle with California Lutheran in Women's Tennis, 5-4

Gutierrez Defeats Leckness at #3 Singles for Deciding Team Point

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

THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF. -- Willamette University outlasted California Lutheran University, 5-4, in a non-conference women's tennis match on Friday, March 25 at the Poulson Tennis Courts. The match was not decided until the final singles match, #3 singles, reached its conclusion in a third set.

Willamette, ranked #13 in the West Region of NCAA Division III. improved to 8-4 on the season. The Bearcats, who compete in the Northwest Conference, have won six of their last seven matches. California Lutheran, a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, fell to 3-2.

WU led 2-1 after the doubles matches with wins at the #1 and #3 positions. At one point during singles, California Lutheran claimed a 4-3 advantage, but Willamette rallied for the victory.

A win by Shannon Palmer (Jr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) at #2 singles allowed Willamette to tie the overall match at 4-4. Palmer downed Holly Beaman, 6-3, 6-2. WU's Sabrina Gutierrez (Fr., Newbury Park, CA/Newbury Park HS) defeated Jordan Leckness of CLU at #3 singles, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1, to provide the winning team point.

At #1 doubles, Natalia Agarycheva (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) and Palmer of Willamette rolled past Beaman and Leckness, 8-3. Agarycheva and Palmer, who upped their record to 11-1, are ranked #4 in the West Region in doubles.

California Lutheran got one point out of the doubles matches, as Kim Kolibas and Lindsay Murphy defeated Gutierrez and Jamie Slonaker (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) at #2 doubles, 8-3.The #3 doubles match was won by Katie Huber (So., St. Peter, MN/St. Peter HS) and Emily Bee (Jr., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) of WU over Carly Mouzes and Lauren Toohey, 8-5.

Agarycheva defeated Kalibas in a quick match at #1 singles, 6-2, 6-1, to increase WU's early lead to 3-1. Agarycheva, ranked #4 in the West Region in singles, improved to 10-1 on the season.

The Royals tied the overall match when Murphy won at #4 singles and Mouzes won at #5 within minutes of each other.

Murphy won the first set and was leading in the second set when Huber had to retire due to an injury. Mouzes took the first set quickly against Bee of Willamette, but needed a tie-breaker in the second set before winning, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).

Cal Lutheran moved in front in the team score when Lauren Toohey prevailed against Slonaker at #6 singles, 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.

Palmer and Gutierrez won the final two matches for Willamette to secure the team victory for the Bearcats.

Willamette is scheduled to take on Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif., on Saturday, March 26. Match time is slated for 10 a.m. (PDT).

Willamette University 5
California Lutheran University 4
Sabrina Gutierrez defeated Jordan Leckness in three sets to provide WU with the winning point.

Sabrina Gutierrez defeated Jordan Leckness in three sets to provide WU with the winning point.