NWC Finals Wrap-up: Women’s Tennis falls short, Men’s team takes home 9th straight title


Photo by Amelia Wells

After four consecutive years of hosting the conference tournament, the Whitman women’s tennis team found themselves in a new situation on the road with a championship on the line. The women routed Linfield in the semi final match by a score of 5-0, storming into the championship match.

Senior captain Jenna Dobrin explained this dominant victory. “We were excited, our goal all year was to get there so we were focused and geared up. We wanted another chance at (#1 seed) Lewis and Clark, and we knew what we needed to do to get there,” she said.

In the semi final Mary Hill and Hannah Greenberg set the tone for the day with an 8-3 rout at #1 doubles. Lindsay Brodeck and Allie Wallin followed suit at #3 doubles with an 8-3 victory of their own. Whitman then completed a sweep of the doubles when Jenna Dobrin and Cello Lockwood gutted out an 8-6 win at #2.

In an interview coach John Hein discussed the doubles matches. “Cello and Jenna’s win at 2 was huge, It got us to 3-0 and sent us into singles with a lot of team momentum.” It certainly did, as Whitman would cruise for the rest of the day and into a finals match with a Lewis and Clark team ranked number 18 in the country.

On Sunday the Missionaries played for a championship, getting the chance to avenge two regular season losses to the host Pioneers. Ultimately, the bid to win a fifth straight Northwest Conference championship fell short. Lewis and Clark was able to take the title away from Whitman with a close, hard fought 5-2 victory.

Dobrin reflected on the match and the season, “I could not be more proud of Whitman women’s tennis. It was a tough day, but there was some great tennis and a great fight from both teams. Sometimes things just don’t go your way, we know we played our best, but a championship didn’t materialize for us.”

While the women’s season will come to an unfortunate end, the Whitman men’s tennis program will continue their season. After a 5-1 thumping of Pacific, Whitman retained the NWC championship for the ninth consecutive year. After the win they improved to 19-8 on the year, and they currently rank fifth in the West region. After dominating Whitworth in the semi final by a score of 5-0, the momentum seemed to roll into Sunday.

Whitman learned from the regular season before heading into Saturday’s semi final with Whitworth. After an uncomfortably tight regular season match with the Pirates, Whitman knew what lay before them in the semi finals.

Photo by Amelia Wells
Photo by Amelia Wells

Senior Phillip Locklear commented on the mentality, “We knew we couldn’t underestimate them because they surprised us in the regular season. We came out and knew what we had to do to get into that final match,” he said.

The Missionaries did exactly what they needed to do as they swept Whitworth in doubles play to start the day. They rolled through singles play as well, finishing up with a 5-0 sweep.

Sunday would prove to be more challenging as the 18-3 Pacific Boxers were ready for the Missionaries. Whitman won two of the three doubles matches on the day, both of which were highly contested.

These wins were key momentum shifts for Locklear, “The wins in doubles were huge because we easily could have gone down 3-0. It was crucial that we came back, and doing so gave us a lot of momentum for the day.”

That it did, as Whitman would then cruise to another NWC championship. Adam Rapoport dominated at #6 singles with scores of 6-2 and 6-3. Peter Jivkov would also triumph with scores of 6-2 and 6-2. The clinching points came with Zach Hewlin at #1 singles, where he came away with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Whitman is now in wait-and-see mode as they will find out where they are headed for regional play. The tournament will take place on May 13-15, and with this momentum, Whitman will surely be a team to watch out for.