McMINNVILLE, Ore. – The story behind Linfield’s women’s tennis victory over Pacific Lutheran was not the what, but the who, as the Wildcats enlisted the help of some new faces to earn a 8-1 team victory Friday evening inside Rutschman Fieldhouse.
Head coach Amy Dames Smith elected to shake up the lineup to give some of her players more match experience, but the changes did not alter the expected result for the undefeated Wildcats (5-0, 5-0 NWC) against the overmatched Lutes (0-5, 0-3 NWC).
It was status quo at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles, respectively, as Abby Olbrich and Caroline Brigham (Jr., Eagle, Idaho) took care of Leah Newell and Tina Aarsvold 8-1 and the Nip sisters – Kaila and Kiana – turned away Cora Wigen and Valery Jorgensen 8-2.
But at No. 3 doubles, it was Katherine Allison (Jr., Bellevue, Wash.) and Gretchen Jernstedt (Soph., Wilsonville, Ore.) who made their first appearances for Linfield. PLU’s Allison McClure and Katherine Patton got the win, however, at 8-3, to give the Lutes their only point of the evening.
Brigham made the most of her first career start at No. 1 doubles, easily defeating Newell 6-1, 6-0. Thomas battled Wigen through a tie-breaker first set before handily winning the second for a final score of 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Kaila Nip (Soph., Lahaina, Hawaii) overcame Aarsvold 6-2, 6-0 in the third flight and Kiana Nip earned a 6-0, 6-1 decision over McClure at No. 4 singles.
Playing in the No. 5 slot for the first time, Watanabe crushed fellow freshman Patton 6-0, 6-0. Meanwhile, Erin Crofcheck (Soph., Prineville, Ore.) enjoyed her first career start in singles play, claiming a 6-2, 6-3 win over Miolla.
NEXT: The ‘Cats host Willamette in a Saturday afternoon match beginning at 1 p.m.
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McMinnville, OR 97128