Bearcats Defeat Bruins, 6-3, Earn Spot in NWC Tournament

Willamette End Regular Season at 10-6, 7-5 in Conference

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Led by solid play throughout the singles lineup, the Willamette University women's tennis team defeated George Fox University, 6-3, on Saturday, April 9 to conclude the regular season and clinch an NWC Tournament berth.

The Bearcats won the top four singles matches and also gained a win at #6 singles. In addition, WU's doubles team of Natalia Agarycheva (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) and Shannon Palmer (Jr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) rolled to an 8-0 win at #1 doubles over Molly Beaumont and Cara Griffith.

Agarycheva also registered a victory at #1 singles, as she downed Beaumont of GFU, 6-0, 6-1. Palmer moved past Alyssa Emoto, 6-0, 6-1. Fabi Dieguez (Jr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS/Oregon State Univ.) of WU won a close first set over Shaina Inn, 7-5, at #3 singles, before taking the second set, 6-0.

Jamie Slonaker (Sr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) won #4 singles for the Bearcats. She took the first set against Griffith in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-4), and then won the second set, 6-2. At #6 singles, Emily Funabiki (Fr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) of WU defeated the Bruins' Bethany Nguyen in three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

George Fox won two doubles matches. Emoto and Inn outscored Dieguez and Slonaker at #2 doubles, 8-4, In the #3 doubles match, Liliya Abildayeva and Nguyen were victorious over Funabiki and Lindsay Michaelson (Fr., Mililani, HI/Leilehua HS), 8-5.

The only win for the Bruins in singles was recorded by Abildayeva at the #5 position. She downed Michaelson of WU, 6-4, 6-2.

Whitworth University, which went 12-0 in NWC play this spring, will host the four-team NWC Tournament on April 16-17 in Spokane, Wash. Willamette is the #4 seed for the event and will take on top-seeded Whitworth in the semifinals on Saturday, April 16. In the other semifinal, #2-seeded Linfield College will face #3-seeded Whitman College. The winners of the semifinal matches will meet on Sunday, April 17 to determine the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Willamette University 6
George Fox University 3
Shannon Palmer won #2 singles over Alyssa Emoto, 6-0, 6-3.

Shannon Palmer won #2 singles over Alyssa Emoto, 6-0, 6-3.