SPOKANE, Wash. – Jumping out to a 3-0 lead after doubles action, Whitworth survived a series of tough singles matches for a grueling 7-2 Northwest Conference victory over Linfield in a match that took seven hours to complete Saturday afternoon at the Scotford Tennis Center.
Caroline Brigham (Sr., Eagle, Idaho) and Gretchen Jernstedt (Jr., Wilsonville, Ore.) scored the lone two points for the Wildcats, claiming victories at No. 1 and 5 singles, respectively.
“We dug ourselves too big of a hole to climb out of,” said head coach Lisa Macy-Baker. “It's hard to have momentum when you lose all three doubles matches, yet the singles lineup did give its best effort to recover.”
In a marathon contest that featured a trio of three-set matches and three tiebreakers, Whitworth's Taylor Pena fought off five match points in the final set in rallying to a 6-7 (4-7), 6-0, 7-6 (11-9) victory Kaila Nip (Jr., Lahaina, Hawaii) for the decisive point at No. 2 doubles.
After Bella Hoyos pushed Whitworth's advantage to four points with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Kelly Watanabe (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.), Brigham made the Pirates wait a little while longer for the clinch. Linfield's senior scored a top-flight win over Saryn Mooney by a score of 6-1, 6-0, to improve to 1-1 in Northwest Conference matches.
“Caroline rolled, again proving the fact that she's one of the top singles players in the league and West Region,” Macy-Baker said. “Kaila maintained her composure to battle back in the third set, losing in a marathon heart and tie breaker.”
In other singles wins for the Pirates, Morgan McDivitt gutted out a 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 7-5 win over Marisa Kume (Fr., Nagoya, Japan) at No. 4 singles and Caylee Lamm topped Courtney Mostul (Fr., Sherwood, Ore.) 6-1, 6-1 in the sixth flight. Linfield's Jernstedt defeated Anabelle Burns 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
Burns and Hannah Wallin opened the afternoon with an 8-3 victory over Kume and Jernstedt at No. 3 doubles. Hoyos and Morgan McDivitt followed up with an 8-4 win over Watanabe and Nip before Mooney and Pena completed the sweep with their 8-5 defeat of Linield's top pair, Brigham and Mackenzie Fraser (Fr., Salem, Ore.).
With the loss, Linfield dropped to 0-2 in Northwest Conference action (1-2 overall), though the Wildcats have the opportunity to win the point against both Whitman and Whitworth (2-1, 2-0 NWC) later this season as part of the league's round-robin-and-a-half schedule.
“We can't not attribute some of the early tightness to last night's match at Whitman,” Macy-Baker said. “On the road at the Whits is the most challenging way to start conference. But we have to give credit to Whitworth's match readiness and mental toughness throughout.”
COMING UP: Linfield enjoys its first home match of the year Saturday at 11 a.m. against Puget Sound.
Earns three-set victory in singles
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128