McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Depth was the difference for the Linfield women’s tennis team as the Wildcats won the final three singles flights en route to a 6-3 victory over Whitman Saturday morning at the Linfield Tennis Center.
In a back-and-forth battle, the Wildcats swept the doubles matches, but the Missionaries (0-2, 0-1 NWC) took the top three singles flights to even the match score at three points apiece. Nos. 4-6 singles belonged to the ‘Cats, however, allowing the home team to stay perfect on the season at 2-0 in the Northwest Conference.
After losing to the same duo in the title match of the USTA/ITA Pacific Northwest Fall Championships back in October, Abby Olbrich and Caroline Brigham (Jr., Eagle, Idaho) exacted their revenge on Whitman’s Alyssa Roberg and Courtney Lawless, earning the No. 1 doubles win by a score of 8-5.
Kaila Nip (Soph., Lahaina, Hawaii) and Kiana Nip topped Morgan Lawless and Emily Rolston in a close 8-6 match, and Kelly Watanabe (Soph., Kirkland, Wash.) and Lexi Thomas (Sr., Redding, Calif.) completed the doubles sweep with an 8-6 win over Lizzy Schiller and Hannah Palkowitz.
Courtney Lawless, the reigning USTA/ITA singles champion and third-ranked player in the West, defeated Olbrich 6-4, 6-1 in the top singles flight. In another top-25 regional matchup at No. 2 singles, Roberg edged Brigham 6-3, 7-5.
Morgan Lawless earned Whitman its final point of the afternoon with her 7-6 (2), 6-1 victory over Thomas.
The Nip sisters and Watanabe ensured a Wildcat victory by winning their respective singles matches. Kaila defeated Kate Kunkel-Patterson 6-1, 6-2 while older sister Kiana was victorious over Rolston by a score of 6-4, 6-3. The No. 6 doubles match was the only one to last three sets as Watanabe rallied to topple Whitman’s Palkowitz 3-6, 6-4, 10-3.
AHEAD: The Wildcats hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Newberg to take on George Fox. Match time is set for Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.
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