#24 Whitman Downs Willamette, 9-0, in NWC Men's Tennis

Gunnar Lee (Sr., Hilo, HI/St. Joseph School)
Gunnar Lee (Sr., Hilo, HI/St. Joseph School)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College, ranked #24 in NCAA Division III by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), defeated Willamette University, 9-0, in a Northwest Conference men's tennis match on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Bratton Indoor Tennis Center. The Blues, who are ranked #6 in the West Region, improved to 8-2 on the season, 2-0 in the NWC.

Willamette fell to 0-3, 0-2 in the NWC. Both of Willamette's NWC losses have been to nationally-ranked teams. The non-conference loss was against NCAA Division I opponent Portland State University in the season opener.

The Blues rolled through the doubles matches, but received a stronger test from the Bearcats in singles play.

At #1 doubles, the Whitman team of Luke Targett and Jcob Christensen downed Aaron Schechter (So., Seattle, WA/James A. Garfield HS) and Gunnar Lee (Sr., Hilo, HI/St. Joseph School), 8-3.

In the #2 doubles match, Alex Hwang and Adam Rappaport moved past Willamette's Colin Fisher (Fr., Caldwell, ID/Thomas Jefferson Charter School) and Hunter Yee (Fr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School), 8-2. The #3 doubles match was won by Rajul Chikkalingaiah and Azur Ali of Whitman, 8-1, over Derek Lund (Jr., Helena, MT/Capital HS) and Samuel Rowe (Jr./So., Andover, MA/Andover HS.

The Bearcats won at least four games in one set durnig four of the six singles matches.

The closest match was a three-set battle at #2 singles between Lee of Willamette and Hwang from Whitman. Hwang won the first set, 6-3, but Lee controlled the second set for a 6-1 win. Hwang prevailed with a 6-4 win in the third set.

At #3 singles Rappaport shut out Yee in the first set, 6-0, before holding on for a 6-4 win in the second set. Targett and Fisher matched-up at #4 singles, with Targett winning, 6-4, 6-1.

Ali earned the win at #5 singles against Lund in straight sets, but both sets were competitive at 6-3 and 7-5. Chikkalingaiah at #1 singles and Christensen at #6 singles each grabbed victories, with Chikkalingaiah winning every game and Christensen losing just one game.

The Bearcats will take on George Fox University on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. (PST). The match will be played at the WU Tennis Courts, unless the weather forces the competition to move indoors at the Salem Tennis and Swim Club.