Willamette Falls to Whitworth, 5-2, at NWC Women's Tennis Tournament

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- The Willamette University women's tennis team competed in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Tournament on Saturday, April 16. The Bearcats lost to host Whitworth University, 5-2.

The loss brought an end to Willamette's successful dual match season, as the Bearcats concluded the year with a 10-7 overall record. The Pirates improved to 17-2.

Whitworth advanced to take on Linfield College in the NWC Tournament final on Sunday, April 17. The winner of Sunday's match will receive the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. Linfield defeated Whitman College, 5-2, in the other semifinal match on Saturday.

The Bearcats won #1 doubles against Whitworth in the semifinals, but the Pirates took a 2-1 lead by earning wins at #2 doubles and #3 doubles.

In the top doubles match, Natalia Agarycheva (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) and Shannon Palmer (Jr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) recorded the win for Willamette by outscoring Rachel Burns and Alli Marshall, 8-5.

Erica Bosman and Katie Staudinger of Whitworth downed Fabi Dieguez (Jr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS/Oregon State Univ.) and Sabrina Gutierrez (Fr., Newbury Park, CA/Newbury Park HS) at #2 doubles, 8-1. Megan Wingfield and Claire Hemming also won for the Pirates at #3 doubles, as they defeated Emily Bee (Jr., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Emily Funabiki (Fr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS), 8-1.

Marshall held off Gutierrez at #2 singles, 6-4, 6-3, to increase Whitworth's advantage to 3-1. Palmer of Willamette cut the deficit in half when she rallied from a set down at #3 singles to prevail against Bosman, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Burns triumphed at #1 singles over Agarycheva by winning a close first set, 6-4, and then taking the second set in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-2). Staudinger claimed #4 singles over Dieguez, 6-1, 6-1, to provide Whitworth with the fifth team point for the overall win.

Both teams entered the match ranked in the West Region of NCAA Division III. Whitworth was ranked #8 and Willamette was ranked #11.


NWC Tournament Semifinal
Spokane, Wash.

Whitworth University 5
Willamette University 2

Shannon Palmer achieved wins at #1 doubles and #3 singles for the Bearcats.

Shannon Palmer achieved wins at #1 doubles and #3 singles for the Bearcats.