Both tennis teams secured spots for conference after a strong weekend finish.
The men’s team coped with injuries and employed different lineups but still beat George Fox University on April 9. However, the team lost to Pacific Lutheran University on April 10.
With Linfield’s top players resting in preparation for the conference tournament, the coaches readjusted the lineup for both teams.
Junior Brent Kingzett rested April 10 for singles, but competed in doubles, playing with a new partner as his original teammate, junior Mark Magdaong, sat out.
Senior Matt Kaufmann was Kingzett’s partner replacement for the match. The two took the win against PLU’s senior Michael Manser and junior Scott Sheldon, 8-5.
“I sat out because I strained my left back/side, so it felt good to rest and heal up before conference,” Magdaong said. “Watching Brent and Matt play was something new. They’ve never played [together] before, but they played well. Our team came out strong, and we competed well.”
Kingzett said that there wasn’t much doubt in his mind about his and Kaufmann’s performance.
“Matt and I have been playing doubles well all year,” Kingzett said. “We were determined to make our last-minute doubles pairings work for the team.”
With the women’s 11th-straight win as a team, it beat Pacific Lutheran University, 9-0, at PLU on April 10. The day before, the women shut out the University of Puget Sound, 9-0, on UPS courts.
After a 10th-straight win for the women’s team April 9, the women also juggled partner rearrangements. When senior Sallie Katter sat out to rest, sophomore Abby Olbrich teamed up with fellow sophomore Kiana Nip. The two won 8-5 against PLU senior Ashley Coats and sophomore Cora Wigen.
Juniors Sarah Watanabe and Sarah Click won No. 2 doubles and both of their singles matches.
After bagging two wins, Watanabe reflected on the season before conference.
“I am so proud by my team’s performance this year,” she said. “We have thrived and are fired up more than ever to win conference after beating Whitworth. We are ready to take back the conference title because we have earned it. All of my teammates bring something different to the table, and each and everyone’s performance this year has been great.”
Both teams will compete in the Northwest Conference Championships on April 16 in Yakima, Wash.
“I am excited for the conference tournament this weekend and have no doubt that we can put together a great run,” Kingzett said. “Being the second seed, we absolutely expect to get to the conference championship.”
Features reporterCorrina Crocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org