By Timothy Walsh, Athletics Communications Writer
SALEM, Ore. – Willamette University earned wins at two singles positions and at #2 doubles, but Pacific Lutheran University defeated the Bearcats, 6-3, in a Northwest Conference men's tennis match on Sunday, March 11, at the Willamette Tennis Courts.
PLU improved to 3-5 overall, 1-3 in the NWC, while Willamette dropped to 2-4 on the season, 1-2 in NWC play.
"The team came out and played very well," Willamette Head Coach Rick Wood said. "The match came down to a few points that didn't go our way, but the team played hard. I am really proud of the improvement of the entire team."
Gene Perle-Jones (So., Eugene, OR/North Eugene HS) and Owen Burcham (Fr., Portland, OR/Wilson HS) delivered the Bearcats a thrilling tiebreaker victory at #2 doubles, defeating Justin DeMattos and Chan Thourk 9-8 (7-3).
In the battle at the #1 doubles position, Aaron Schechter (Jr., Seattle, WA/James A. Garfield HS) and Colin Fisher (So., Caldwell, ID/Thomas Jefferson Charter School) fell 8-6 in a close match against PLU's top tandem of Nico Convento and Jake Kim.
In the singles matches, Perle-Jones and Fisher both notched victories. Perle-Jones won #2 singles for Willamette, defeating DeMattos in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. At #2 singles, Fisher triumphed 6-3, 6-0 over Kim.
The Lutes took the remainder of the singles matches, clinching the team victory with a pair of close wins. At #5 singles, Near took the first set over Hiserman, 6-2, before Hiserman rallied to win the second set 6-3. Near then earned a 6-2 win in the decisive third set. Woefel won #6 singles for the Lutes in a 6-4, 6-4 battle over Zarate.
PLU also picked up a victory at #1 singles and a win by Thourk at #4 singles. Convento defeated Schechter, 6-1, 6-1. Thourk downed Burcham 6-3, 6-2.
The Bearcats will next take on College of the Desert in an exhibition contest on Friday, March 16. The match is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. (PDT) in Palm Springs, California.