PORTLAND, Ore. – Lewis & Clark moved one step closer to securing its first Northwest Conference tournament berth in three years with a 7-2 victory over Linfield Friday afternoon inside the LC Tennis Dome.
The Pioneers (10-2, 9-1 NWC) captured the top two doubles flights and five of six singles matches – including a pair of three-set victories – to defeat the Wildcats (5-8, 5-4 NWC) for the first time since February of 2010.
Aurora Garrison and Gillian Lowe handled Linfield’s No. 1 pair, Kwynn Ecton (Fr., Fort Collins, Colo.) and Caroline Brigham (Jr., Eagle, Idaho), by a score of 8-2 while Olivia Cornell and Claudia Lew defeated Gretchen Jernstedt (Soph., Wilsonville, Ore.) and Lexi Thomas (Sr., Redding, Calif.) 8-4 at No. 2 doubles.
In the third and final fight, Kaila Nip (Soph., Lahaina, Hawaii) and Kelly Watanabe (Soph., Kirkland, Wash.) improved to 6-1 against Northwest Conference opponents with their 8-5 victory over Isabelle Borris and Lisa Osepyan.
Nip was the Wildcats’ sole singles winner as the Pioneers quickly clinched the team victory with three straight points in the fourth, first and second flights.
Lowe notched a perfect 6-0, 6-0 over Ecton at No. 4 singles, while Garrison topped Brigham 6-1, 7-6 in the top flight. Cornell and Thomas went to three sets at No. 2 singles, with the freshman Pioneer coming out on top against the senior Wildcat by a count of 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
At No. 3 singles, Nip pulled out the 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 victory over Lew to avoid a clean sweep for the Pioneers, but Ospeyan bested Watanabe 6-3, 7-5 and Borris outlasted Jernstedt 3-6, 6-0, 1-0 (11-9) to wrap up the evening.
NEXT: Linfield returns to the LC Tennis Dome Saturday for a neutral-court, nonconference match against Cal Lutheran. Match time is set for 5 p.m., following the Regals’ noon contest against Lewis & Clark.
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Brigham and Nip voted to all-NWC squad
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