Bearcats Will Battle Pirates in Semifinals of NWC Tournament

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Hoping to continue the success it experienced during the regular season, the Willamette University men's tennis team will compete at the Northwest Conference Tournament this weekend (April 16-17) in Walla Walla, Wash. Willamette, seeded #2 with a 12-5 overall record and an 11-1 record in the NWC, will open the tournament against Whitworth University, seeded #3 with an 11-9 overall record, 8-4 in the NWC.

The Bearcats and the Pirates will play at 2 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, April 16. In the day's opening match at 10 a.m., #1-seeded Whitman College, 14-6 on the season and 12-0 in the NWC, will take on #2-seeded Pacific University, 8-8 overall, 7-5 in the NWC.

Both matches will be played at the Whitman Outdoor Courts or at Whitman's Bratton Tennis Center if the weather forces the action indoors.

Winners of the semifinal matches will meet in the tournament final on Sunday, April 17. Match time for the final is set for 11 a.m. (PDT).

Three of the four teams are ranked in the West Region of NCAA Division III. Whitman is ranked #7, while Willamette holds down the #11 spot and Whitworth is ranked #15.

The top four players from Willamette's team that lost to Whitman in the tournament final a year ago are still with the Bearcats.

Michael Baumgartner (So., Albany, OR/West Albany HS) is Willamette's #1 singles player. He owns a 10-7 overall record and an 8-4 mark against NWC opponents. Baumgartner is ranked #28 in the West Region.

At #2 singles for the Bearcats is Joshua Wong (So., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS). Wong is 10-4 in singles, with a solid 9-1 record in the NWC. Cody Ferguson (Jr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) has played mostly #3 singles and is 10-5 overall, with an 8-2 conference record.

Matthew Houser (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) is Willamette's #4 singles player. He has achieved a 10-5 record, including 9-2 in the NWC. The combined singles record of Baumgartner, Wong, Ferguson and Houser is 40-21 (.656) overall and 34-9 (.791) versus NWC foes.

In doubles, Willamette's top team of Baumgartner and Houser is 6-4 on the season and 6-0 against the NWC. Baumgartner and Houser have won their past five matches since losing to Anson McCook and Rich Bonfiglio of nationally-ranked Trinity College (Conn.) on March 23.

The winner of the NWC Tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

TOURNAMENT WEBSITE

NWC Women's Tennis Tournament
Scotford Tennis Center
Spokane, Wash.
April 16-17, 2011

Live Scoring Blog
(Provided by Whitman)

Michael Baumgartner plays #1 singles and #1 doubles for the Bearcats.

Michael Baumgartner plays #1 singles and #1 doubles for the Bearcats.