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.

BOX SCORE
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.