Whitman Slips Past Bearcats, 5-4, in Northwest Conference Match

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Led by solid play from Courtney Lawless at #1 singles and #1 doubles, Whitman College claimed a 5-4 victory over Willamette University, in a Northwest Conference women's tennis match at the Courthouse Tennis Center on Monday, Feb. 20. The Missionaries evened their overall record at 2-2, including 1-1 in the NWC. Willamette, which lost for the first time this season, fell to 2-1 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.

Lawless and teammate Maddy Webster provided a key win for Whitman by rallying past Willamette's top doubles team of Shannon Palmer (Sr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and Sabrina Gutierrez (So., Newbury Park, CA/Newbury Park HS). Palmer and Gutierrez led 3-2, before Lawless and Webster won six consecutive games for an 8-3 victory.

Willamette won #2 doubles, as Emily Bee (Sr., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Denise Poltavski (Fr., Woodland Hills, CA/El Camino Real HS) outlasted Morgan Lawless and Emily Rolston in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (7-4).

At #3 doubles, Kate Kunkel-Patterson and Sara Finkleman of Whitman defeated Katie Huber (Jr., St. Peter, MN/St. Peter HS) and Emily Funabiki (So., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS), 8-3, giving the Missionaries a 2-1 overall lead.

Courtney Lawless downed Palmer, 6-0, 6-0, at #1 singles, and Morgan Lawless held off Gutierrez at #2 singles, 6-1, 6-4, to provide Whitman with two more wins. The Missionaries also recorded a victory at #6 singles, as Lizzy Schiller defeated Funabiki in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

Willamette split the six singles matches by winning at the #3, #4 and #5 positions. Poltavski cruised past Kunkel-Patterson at #3 singles, 6-2, 6-1. Huber won a close match with Rolston at #4 singles in a super tie-breaker played instead of a third set, 6-4, 3-6, 10-2. At #5 singles, Bee won in two sets over Hannah Palkowitz, 6-3, 6-0.

The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 25 in a road match against Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Match time is set for 4 p.m. (PST).


Whitman College 5
Willamette University 4

Freshman Denise Poltavski won #3 singles for Willamette, 6-2, 6-1, over Kate Kunkel-Patterson.