Tennis rejuvenated after road trip south
For the Review
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have been busy over the break, traveling to different states to take on non-conference opponents.
The men’s team took four of six matches with only one loss coming from league play, while the women took three of five, losing both matches during their visit to Santa Cruz, Calif.
The men’s team had a terrific start over the break, dominating both the University of Puget Sound, 6-3, on March 15 and the Willamette University, 8-1, on the following day in Northwest Conference play. The two wins marked a fifth consecutive NWC victory for the ’Cats.
On March 22, the team took its winning streak on the road. In the first game, Linfield found itself in Scottsdale, Ariz., facing Scottsdale Community College.
The lead proved to not be enough as the team dropped the No. 1 through No. 4 games, sealing in the victory for SDCC. The ’Cats picked up the final two matches to bring the final score to 5-4.
The following day, Linfield traveled to Glendale, Ariz., to face Glendale Community College. There would be no repeat of the previous day, as the ’Cats took the first eight matches of the day to win, 8-1.
On March 29, the ’Cats faced both Whitman College and Whitworth University in a home doubleheader. After dropping the first match to Whitman, 7-2, Linfield came out firing against Whitworth.
The men currently sit in third place in the NWC with a record of 8-4. The team has four games remaining in the season, beginning Lewis & Clark College at 3:30 p.m. in McMinnville followed by a trip to Forest Grove on April 5 to take on Pacific University at 1 p.m.
In women’s play, the ’Cats found themselves undefeated in NWC play going into their March 15 matchup against University of Puget Sound. The Wildcats steamrolled their competition, 9-0, to remain perfect in league play.
Traveling to Santa Cruz, Calif., on March 17, the ’Cats found themselves up against the No. 19 nationally ranked team, the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Although the team pulled out big wins from No. 6 freshman player Sarah Click and No. 1 doubles tandem senior Kasey Kuenzli and sophomore Sallie Katter, Linfield lost, 7-2.
The following day, the ’Cats found themselves in a rematch of last season’s first round NCAA West Region playoffs against Hardin-Simmons Colleges. Although the Wildcats were ranked No. 6 in the division compared to Hardin-Simmons’ No. 8, they were unable to repeat last season’s victory and eventually lost, 6-3.
Back into league play on March 29, the ’Cats were able to keep their NWC record perfect with a narrow 5-4 victory over conference rival Whitworth. After finding themselves down, 2-1, going into the singles competition, Linfield won its first three matches to take a slight 3-2 advantage. Winning the No. 4 and No. 5 matches, Whitworth evened the score.
However, Click was able to take down her opponent, senior Taryn Smith, 6-4, 6-2, to clinch the victory for Linfield.
“We have a really solid team,” Nelson said. “Click had a great match and really pulled through. I think our greatest strength is that we line up from top to bottom. We are solid, and everyone is good. If someone is having a bad day, someone else will pick it up.”
The following day, the ’Cats beat George Fox University, 7-2, to bring their NWC record to 11-0. The women next play at Lewis & Clark College Friday April 4 at 3:30 p.m. followed by a home match at 11 a.m. against Pacific Saturday April 5.