Whitman Women’s Tennis Demolish Competition

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Photo Credit : Bullion

Whitman’s women’s tennis opened their season last weekend with two wins over Northwest Conference foes the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University and a disappointing loss to NAIA pre-season ranked number 14 Lewis-Clark State College in a non-conference match-up.

The Missionaries dominated conference play, sweeping both the Loggers and the Lutes 9-0. On Friday, Feb. 12, against Puget Sound, junior Elise Otto and senior Divneet Kaur won number one doubles 8-2 in a pro set. Senior Hadley DeBree and first-year Alyssa Roberg won at number two doubles 8-3, while sophomore Emily Rolston and first-year Kate Kunkel-Patterson won at number three doubles 8-2. Otto, DeBree and Kaur were not only successful as the top three singles. They demolished their opponents in straight sets, each giving up only one game on Friday evening in Bratton Indoor Tennis Center. Fans gathered above the courts and cheered on the Missionaries; some even came with homemade signs for their friends.

Kaur credited the team’s early season success to their off-season preparation.

“This was the most focused pre-season I have ever been a part of and it really made a difference in how we opened our season,” she said.

Rolston came back from a first set loss to win at number four singles with scores of 5-7, 6-2 and 6-4. Coach John Hein was very proud of her and the team as a whole.

“The best sign of our team dynamic was Friday night versus UPS when the match was already decided and [Rolston] was in a close third set and the entire team was there cheering her on,” he said.

Kunkel-Patterson and sophomore Charlotte Scott continued to dominate with wins at number five and six singles, respectively, each only giving up two games. First-year Lauren Olson completed the shutout with a win at number seven singles.

The Missionaries kept it rolling Saturday, Feb. 13, with their second consecutive 9-0 shutout, this time of Pacific Lutheran University.

However it was not as easy.  DeBree and Kaur had to fight to win at number one doubles, ending up 9-8 and 7-3 in the tie break. Rolston and Roberg had a much easier task at number two singles, winning 8-1. Kunkel-Patterson and Scott teamed up at number three doubles to post an 8-3 victory.

Although it was the first collegiate singles match of her career, Roberg  handily defeated her opponent, winning 6-0 and 6-2. Debree, Kaur  and Kunkel-Patterson also routed their opponents at two, three and five singles, dropping only five, three and five games, respectively. However, Rolston and Scott, at the four and six spots, had more of a challenge with their victories.  Rolston outplayed her counterpart 6-3 and 7-5, and Scott reciprocated with a 7-5 and 6-3 victory.

The Whitman women’s non-conference match against Lewis-Clark State College was unfortunately not as successful for the team, as they dropped a 6-3 decision to the ranked Warriors. The Missionaries gave up two of three doubles matches, only getting a win at number three, with Scott and Kunkel-Patterson earning a hard-fought 8-5 victory. The number four doubles team, Olson and first-year Dena Wessel, also got a win, but it did not count towards the final score.

With the normal number one singles player Otto, not participating, Roberg took her place, and showed what a formidable player she can be with a 6-4, 6-4 victory. Kaur also added to Whitman’s win column with a grueling 5-7, 6-4 and 10-6 win at number three singles.

This weekend was a good start for women’s tennis; they finished 2-1 on the season and 2-0 in conference matches. Even though the team did not sweep all of their opponents, their showing this weekend shows that this season has promise to be a very successful one.

“Make no mistake, this is a talented team that has a great shot to win conference this year, but it is the way that we have worked together and faced adversity so far that has me so excited about this team,” said Hein.