Whitman Sports Blog: Weekend wrap-up 4/13-4/15

Pamela London

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Men’s tennis wins NWC regular season title

Nothing was going to stop the Whitman men’s tennis team this season.

With an 8-1 win against Lewis & Clark College in the home finale, Whitman improved to 12-0 in the Northwest Conference and clinched its perfect season with a regular season conference title.

Against the Pioneers, Whitman swept all three doubles matches and won five of six in singles, dropping only the No. 1 match.

After defeating Lewis & Clark, the Whitman team drove two hours to Lewiston, Idaho, to take on NAIA powerhouse Lewis-Clark State College. The Warriors – No. 24 in the NAIA rankings – defeated Whitman 7-2, ending Whitman’s 19-match winning streak this spring.

Despite the loss to Lewis-Clark State to close out the season, Whitman has not lost a match this season to non-Division III competition and is ranked No. 8 in the NCAA (No. 1 in the West Region). Whitman also earned its 90th consecutive NWC regular season victory, a string of dominance that began over six years ago.

All those records presumably go out the window this coming weekend when the NWC Championship Tournament comes to Walla Walla. Whitman earned the right to host the tournament by earning the No. 1 overall seed. Whichever team emerges victorious on Sunday afternoon will earn the NWC’s automatic berth to the NCAA championship field and a chance to compete for a national title.

Women’s tennis sweeps to second place

A weekend sweep of NWC foes on the road clinched a second-place finish for the Whitman women’s tennis team, putting them in good shape going into next weekend’s conference championship tournament.

On Friday, Whitman defeated George Fox University 6-2, sweeping all three sets of doubles and three of five singles. At No. 1 doubles, junior Alyssa Roberg and first-year Courtney Lawless won 8-4, continuing their dominance and backing up their No. 3 regional ranking.

The No. 5 singles match was left unfinished due to rain.

The next day, Whitman secured its highest finish since 2007 with a 7-2 win over Lewis & Clark. First-year Morgan Lawless (No. 3 singles) and sophomore Hadley Scherer (No. 5) each swept their singles matches 6-0, 6-0.

Whitman finishes the regular season at 10-2 (15-4 overall) and is currently ranked No. 8 in the West Region. The team heads to Linfield College next weekend for the NWC Championship Tournament and will play No. 3 seed Whitworth Saturday in one semi-final. The winner of Sunday’s final receives the NWC’s automatic bid to the NCAA championship field.

Women’s golf wins Spring Preview, readies for conference championships

The Whitman women’s golf team took first place at the annual Whitman Spring Preview last weekend at Columbia Point Golf Course. Whitman dominated its opponents – Whitworth and Pacific University – carding 333 as a team to win by 19 strokes.

Sophomore Catelyn Webber led the Missionaries in scoring and shot an 81 (nine over par) to finish solely atop the podium in first place. First-year Kelley Sweeney finished one stroke behind her teammate in second place, while junior Tate Head and sophomore Katie Zajicek shot matching 85s to round out the team scoring and tie for fourth.

Next weekend, Whitman returns to Columbia Point to compete in the 36-hole, two-day NWC Championship Tournament. Whitman currently sits in second place in the NWC standings, just two points behind George Fox. A win at the championship tournament would give the Missionaries the NWC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  Even if the team does not win, it can still earn an at-large bid to the NCAAs.

Men’s golf finishes second in pre-championship tune-up

Sitting securely in second place in the NWC standings, the Whitman men’s golf team finished second at the Whitman Spring Preview tournament as the team prepares for the conference championship tournament next weekend. Like the women’s team, Whitman took on Whitworth and Pacific in a three-way match.

On the 18-hole course, the Missionaries carded a score of 326 as a team to finish just five strokes behind first-place Whitworth. Junior Peter Clark and first-year Scott Martin each shot an 80 for the day and finished tied for second place. Sophomore Andrew Welch finished one stroke back of his teammates in third place.

Whitman will compete this coming weekend in its final scheduled tournament of the season: the NWC Championships at Canyon Lakes Golf Course. A victory at this tournament gives the Missionaries the NWC’s automatic bid to the NCAA championship field. Whitman trails first-place Linfield by two points in the standings.

Baseball closes out home schedule with 2-1 series loss

The Whitman baseball team finished the home part of its schedule this weekend with a 2-1 series loss to Willamette University. After pulling out a hard-fought win in game one 4-2, the Missionaries lost the next two games (6-3 and 11-4) to drop below the Bearcats in the NWC standings.

Sophomore Kyle Moyes played the role of hero in game one, blasting a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning and a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, which also scored first-year Peter Valentine. Moyes now has six home runs on the year to lead the Missionary offense. Fellow sophomore Jimmy Madden hit his first collegiate home run in the bottom of the fifth to give Whitman the lead before Moyes tacked on the final margin with his second homer.

Junior Justin Weeks got the start and the win on the mound in game one. Weeks pitched seven innings and gave up seven hits with two runs (one earned) while striking out four Willamette batters. First-year Brett Lambert pitched the final two frames to earn his third save of the year.

In Sunday’s series finale, Whitman honored lone senior Jake Nelson for the team’s annual Senior Day. Nelson, who transferred from Walla Walla Community College for his junior and senior years, pitched four innings in his final home start for the Missionaries.

Whitman takes to the road to close out its season. The Missionaries face Chapman University in Orange, CA, next weekend before wrapping up the NWC regular season with a three-game series at rival Whitworth the following weekend.

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