Palmer Wins #1 singles, but Whitworth Defeats Bearcats, 6-3

Pirates Remain Undefeated in NWC Action

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Shannon Palmer (Sr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) of Willamette University won #1 singles over former Sprague High School teammate Alli Marshall, a senior at Whitworth University, but the Pirates achieved victories in two doubles matches and four singles matches to defeat the Bearcats, 6-3, at the Courthouse Tennis Center on Friday, March 16.

The Pirates improved their record to 7-1 on the season and remained undefeated in the Northwest Conference at 6-0. Willamette dropped to 5-4 overall, 3-4 in the NWC.

Whitworth is ranked #9 in the West Region of NCAA Divisioin III. Willamette is ranked #13 in the West Region.

Palmer earned a solid 6-2 win over Marshall in the first set, but had to battle to win the second set. Palmer led 4-3 after seven games, but fell behind 5-4 when Marshall took two games in a row. Countering with two wins of her own, Palmer regained the lead at 6-5, before Marshall tied the set at 6-6.

In the tie-breaker to determine the winner of the second set, Palmer trailed 1-0, but surged in front and took a 6-3 advantage. Marshall won the next two points on a double fault and a winner from the middle of the court to pull within 6-5. On the next rally, Palmer made a nifty return down the line to claim the final point and win the tie-breaker, 7-5.

Palmer and Marshall also were involved in a close match at #1 doubles. Palmer and teammate Sabrina Gutierrez (Newbury Park, CA/Newbury Park HS) built a 7-5 lead, but Marshall and Erica Bosman rallied to win 9-7.

Willamette's #2 doubles team of Denise Poltavski (Fr., Woodland Hills, CA/El Camino Real HS) and Emily Bee (Sr., Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) rolled past Jessi Steele and Claire Hemming of Whitworth, 8-2.

Whitworth won #3 doubles, with Saryn Mooney and Megan Wingfield defeating Emily Funabiki (So., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) and Elise Derby (Fr., Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS), 8-3.

The Pirates secured the overall win by extending their 2-1 advantage with four wins in singles. Bosman downed Gutierrez at #2 singles, 6-2, 6-2. Steele defeated Bee, 6-1, 6-1 at #4 singles. Wingfield took #5 singles against Funabiki, 6-1, 6-3, and Hemming triumphed at #6 singles over Derby, 6-3, 6-0.

Joining Palmer with a singles victory for Willamette was Poltavski, who won a competitive first set with Mooney, 6-3, before adding a 6-2 victory in the second set.

The Bearcats will play an exhibition match against Bellevue College on Saturday, March 16, starting at 4 p.m. (PDT) at the Courthouse Tennis Center (1379 Madison St. NE). Bellevue is a community college located in Bellevue, Wash. The NCAA does not count matches against two-year colleges in win-loss records.

BOX SCORE
Whitworth University 6
Willamette University 3
Shannon Palmer won #1 singles, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), over Alli Marshall.

Shannon Palmer won #1 singles, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), over Alli Marshall.