Women’s tennis faces first loss of season
Linfield’s women’s tennis won two out of three matches this weekend, experiencing its first loss of the year during the March 18 game against Portland State University.
The Wildcats lost 4-3 to the Vikings but triumphed over Pacific University on March 16 with an 8-1 victory. It also claimed the three doubles matches against Whitworth University on March 17, with a score of 7-2. With Portland State not being apart of the Northwest Conference, the Wildcats continue their reign on the number one spot in the NWC.
In the singles competition against Pacific, senior Kiana Nip won her match 6-3, 6-0 against Boxer player Kelsey Trujillo, however, the Wildcats dropped their fourth singles with Boxer player Lillian Do claiming 6-4, 6-2 over Wildcat junior Lexi Thomas.
Pacific was a substantial competitor, but the Wildcats remained consistent, taking four of six single matches. Senior Abby Olbrich had a lengthy run with Boxer Cathlene Goya, dropping the first set 3-6, but gained advantage and won the second tiebreaker 7-6.
Brigham overcame Boxer counterpart Megan Yoshimoto, taking a 6-2, 7-6 victory in the number two singles.
Senior Kiana Nip triumphed over Boxer player Kelsey Trujillo 6-3, 6-0 while her sister, freshman Kaila Nip, went on to win 6-2, 6-3 over Boxer Kelsey Trujillo.
Nip wasn’t the only freshman Wildcat to prevail, as freshman Kelly Watanabe had victory over Boxer Kelsey Lack 6-0, 6-1.
The Wildcats conquered Boxer counterparts in the doubles competition, starting with Wildcat duo Olbrich and Brigham winning the match against Goya and Yoshimoto 8-1.
The Nip sisters defeated Boxer duo of Do and Trujillo, 8-2 while Wildcats Watanabe and Thomas walked away with an 8-2 victory over the Boxer twosome Amber Craviotto and Mizuno.
“We had a really good win against Pacific, and we were all really excited to play Whitworth because they were our biggest rival last year,” sophomore Caroline Brigham said.
The Wildcats took a clean sweep in the doubles competition against the Pirates. Within just 30 minutes of the match, Wildcat duo Brigham and Olbrich, won 8-1 against Pirates twosome, Alli Marshal and Erica Bosman.
Kiana and Kaila Nip defeated opponents Jessi Steele and Saryn Mooney 8-3.
“We felt confident going in and just fought hard,” Kiana Nip said.
Whitworth proved to be tough competition, but the doubles match ended in the Wildcat’s favor with Thomas and Watanabe winning 8-5.
“It was a tough match,” Thomas said. “I thought we were consistent and worked as a team. We kept the ball going and let them make the mistakes.”
The singles competition was successful for the Wildcats despite the losses to Pirates in the fourth and singles rallies.
The Wildcats efforts made for a victorious outcome. Olbrich won 6-3, 6-4 against Pirates counterpart Alli Marshall. Meanwhile, Brigham experienced another victory, claiming a 6-4, 6-2 win over competitor Erica Bosman.
The Nip sisters continued to triumph in the third and fifth singles; Kaila Nip walked away with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Whitworth’s Saryn Mooney, while sister Kiana crushed opponent Megan Wingfield 6-0, 6-0.
The Wildcats’ consistent effort has been a large factor in their winning streak.
Coach Smith notes that the team has been honing in on “consistently choosing the right target to play a quality point.”
Consistency is not the only strategy the team has focused on. Smith deliberated that sharpening the mental aspect of their game has been a priority.
“We’re developing rituals on the court to help keep focus,” Smith said.
The Wildcat’s strategies faltered in Sunday’s match against Portland State, who won all three of the doubles competitions.
Olbrich and Brigham rallied Vikings duo Megan Govi and Marina Todd, who walked away with an 8-6 win.
Wildcats played strong in the singles competition, winning three of the six flights, two of which were in the top two.
Portland State remained a tough opponent, winning the third, fourth and fifth flights of the singles competition.
Kaila Nip experienced her first loss against Vikings counterpart McDonald 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
“I think everyone on the team is very competitive and we all have a strong desire to win. Our hope is to win conference and I think we can definitely do that again this year,” said Brigham in an email.
The Wildcats will travel to Claremont, Calif., to compete against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on March 30.
Chrissy Shane/Staff writer
Chrissy Shane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.