SALEM, ORE. -- When it looked like Willamette University might lose to Lewis & Clark College in Northwest Conference women's tennis action on Sunday, April 4, the Bearcats stepped up their efforts to win the last four matches in a 6-3 victory. The win at the Courthouse Tennis Club improved Willamette to 11-6 overall, 10-4 in the NWC, while L&C dropped to 9-11 overall, 9-5 in the NWC.
The teams began the match tied for fourth in the NWC standings. Willamette move into a tie for third with Whitman College (10-4). Lewis & Clark fell into fifth place, one match behind the Bearcats and the Missionaries.
Willamette led 2-1 after doubles, but the Pioneers surged in front 3-2, as L&C earned wins in the first two singles matches to be completed. The Pioneers also forced a third set at #5 singles and were on the verge of forcing a third set at #3 singles with a 4-1 lead in the second set.
Then the Bearcats regained momentum to move past the Pioneers for the victory.
Katie Huber (Fr., St. Peter, MN/St. Peter High School) rallied from her 4-1 deficit in the second set to win #3 singles over Whitney DeBree of L&C, 6-3, 6-4. Jamie Slonaker (Jr., Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) of WU completed a 6-2, 6-4 win over Maggie Peach at #6 singles.
Willamette's Natalia Agarycheva (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado), ranked #7 in the West Region of NCAA Division III, defeated Amalia Nilsson, 6-3, 6-2, at #1 singles to provide WU with the winning point in the overall match.
Alyssa Morrison (Sr., Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) completed the comeback with a three-set victory at #5 singles. Morrison won the first set, 6-2, before Jill Coleman gained momentum with a 6-2 triumph in the second set. In the third set, Morrison took a 4-3 lead, but Coleman won two consecutive games to move in front, 5-4.
After the next game reached deuce, Morrison fended off three match points before winning the game to tie the set at 5-5. Morrison moved in front with another win, then needed three match points of her own in the following game before winning the set on the third try, 7-5.
WU built its early lead with close wins at #2 and #3 doubles. In the #2 match, Morrison and Shannon Palmer (So., Salem, OR/Sprague HS) edged out Coleman and Isabelle Borris, 9-7. At #3 doubles, Huber and Slonaker outlasted DeBree and Peach, 8-6.
L&C won #1 doubles, with Nilsson and Lisa Harunaga downing Agarycheva and Fabi Dieguez (Salem, OR/Sprague HS/Oregon State University), 8-3. Harunaga defeated Palmer at #2 singles, 6-3, 6-1, and Borris won against Dieguez at #4 singles, 6-1, 6-2, for the Pioneers' other victories.
The Bearcats swept the regular season series with the Pioneers. WU also won, 5-4, in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 28. Both teams have clinched berths in the six-team NWC Tournament to be held in Yakima, Wash., April 16-17.
Sunday, April 4
At Courthouse Tennis Club, Salem, Ore.
Willamette University 6, Lewis & Clark College 3
1. Natalia Agarycheva (WU) defeated Amalia Nilsson (L&C), 6-3, 6-2
2. Lisa Harunaga (L&C) defeated Shannon Palmer (WU), 6-3, 6-1
3. Katie Huber (WU) defeated Whitney DeBree (L&C), 6-3, 6-4
4. Isabelle Borris (L&C) defeated Fabi Dieguez (WU), 6-1, 6-2
5. Alyssa Morrison (WU) defeated Jill Coleman (L&C), 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
6. Jaime Slonaker (WU) defeated Maggie Peach (L&C), 6-2, 6-4
1. Nilsson and Harunaga (L&C) defeated Agarycheva and Dieguez (WU), 8-3
2. Palmer and Morrison (WU) defeated Borris and Coleman (L&C), 9-7
3. Huber and Slonaker defeated DeBree and Peach (L&C), 8-6
Willamette University is 11-6 overall and 10-4 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark College is 9-11 overall, 9-5 in the NWC.
Lewis & Clark College 3