Willamette Downs Whitworth 5-1 at NWC Tournament

Bearcats will Face Whitman on Sunday for NCAA Bid

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

WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- Willamette University defeated Whitworth University, 5-1, in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Men's Tennis Tournament on Saturday, April 16. The Bearcats will now take on Whitman College in the finals on Sunday, April 17. Whitman defeated Pacific University, 5-0, in the other semifinal.

The Bearcats, who are ranked #11 in the West Region of NCAA Division III, increased their record to 13-5 on the season. Whitworth, ranked #15 in the West Region, dropped to 11-10.

In Saturday's match with the Pirates, Willamette took a 2-1 lead with wins at #1 and #2 doubles. Willamette closed out the match by claiming wins in the first three singles matches to be completed.

"The team played a great match today," Willamette Head Coach Toby Krauel said. "We played a senior-laden Whitworth squad. We played well in doubles. Our singles was even better than our doubles. The guys played great.

"We're excited to advance to our second straight Northwest Conference title match," Krauel added.

At #1 doubles, Willamette's team of Michael Baumgartner (So., Albany, OR/West Albany HS) and Matthew Houser (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) defeated Colin Zalewski and Joe Wales, 8-5. The Bearcats won a close match at #2 doubles, as Joshua Wong (So., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) and Cody Ferguson (Jr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) outlasted Daniel Redfern and Colin Barrett, 8-6.

Whitworth's lone victory was achieved at #3 doubles by Henry Williams and Dustin McConnell, who downed Garrett Vincent (Fr., Gresham, OR/Centennial HS) and Will Agnew-Svoboda (Fr., Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS), 8-3.

Willamette increased its lead to 3-1 when Houser rolled past Barrett, 6-1, 6-2, at #4 singles. Ferguson added a 6-2, 6-1 win at #3 singles over Wales. Wong picked up a solid win at #1 singles, 6-2, 6-0, against Daniel Redfern to earn Willamette's fifth point and end the overall match.

The NWC Tournament final is a re-match from last year's final, in which Whitman was victorious, 5-1. The Missionaries also defeated the Bearcats earlier this season, 9-0, but that match was played nearly two months ago on Feb. 21.

"We're just going to do what we've been doing which is bring energy from the first ball in doubles until the last ball in singles," Krauel said. "We are an improved team from when we met them (Whitman) the first time. We are going to play to win."

BOX SCORE

NWC Tournament Semifinal
At Walla Walla, Wash.

Willamette University 5
Whitworth University 1

Senior Matthew Houser earned wins at #1 doubles and #4 singles.

Senior Matthew Houser earned wins at #1 doubles and #4 singles.