Whitman Defeats Bearcats, 9-0, Wins Super Tie-Breakers at #1 and #2 Singles

Wong and Holton-Burke Provide Exciting Play in Top Match

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- It might be a bit too simple to say that Whitman College, ranked #9 in NCAA Division III, defeated Willamette University, 9-0, in a Northwest Conference match at the WU Tennis Courts on Sunday, April 8. Such a simple pronouncement would suggest that the Missionaries rolled past the Bearcats throughout the lineup.

In reality, the match was a bit more complicated. The main complications were at #1 and #2 singles where the outcomes were in doubt until the end of super tie-breakers that were played instead of a third set.

At #1 singles, Conor Holton-Burke of Whitman, the defending Northwest Conference Player of the Year, and Joshua Wong (Jr., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) of Willamette, a returning First Team All-NWC selection, battled it out with quality play through two regulars sets and the super tie-breaker.

Both players had many great shots during the match, and quite a few of them were returned by the other player.

Wong surged out to a 5-0 lead in the first set. Holton-Burke rallied to pull within 5-4, before Wong held serve to win the set, 6-4. In the second set, Holton-Burke took a 3-0 lead on his way to a 6-3 victory. The two talented players completed the match with a closely contested super tie-breaker which Holton-Burke won, 11-9.

Likewise, at #2 singles, Whitman's Sam Sadeghi and Cody Ferguson (Sr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) of Willamette played a lengthy match that also stretched into a super tie-breaker.

Sadeghi claimed the first set, 6-2, only to have Ferguson achieve a 6-3 win the second set. Sadeghi outlasted Ferguson in the super tie-breaker -- many of the points took more than a minute -- before winning 10-5.

The Missionaries claimed a 3-0 lead by winning all three doubles matches.

At #1 doubles, Holton-Burke and Matt Tesmond defeated Wong and Ferguson, 8-4. At #2 doubles, James Rivers and Andrew La Cava roared past Garrett Vincent (So., Seattle, WA/Seattle Prep/Bellevue CC) and Will Cooper (So., Gresham, OR/Centennial HS), 8-2.

Whitman's team of Sadeghi and Steven Roston won #3 doubles, 8-2, over Andrew Laufer (Fr., Paradise Valley, AZ/Brentwood College School) and Cameron Thompson (Jr., Torrance, CA/North Torrance HS).

In singles, the top two positions were the only matches that went beyond two sets. Even so, Willamette players won at least three games in four of the eight sets played in the bottom four matches.

At #3 singles, Rivers downed Vincent, 6-0, 6-3. Vincent took a 2-1 lead at the start of the second set, before Rivers rallied to claim the straight-set victory. Adriel Borshansky of Whitman took #4 singles against Cooper, winning both sets by a 6-3 margin.

The #5 singles match was won by Roston, who downed Will Agnew-Svoboda (So., Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS) of Willamette, 6-1, 6-0. Tesmond took #6 singles for the Missionaries, as he claimed a 6-1 win in the first set and then held off Jack Schreiber (Fr., Solana Beach, CA/The Grauer School) in the second set, 7-5.

Whitman improved to 18-3 with the victory, including 11-0 in the Northwest Conference. In addition to holding a #9 national ranking from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), Whitman is ranked #1 in the West Region. Willamette fell to 3-12-3-8 in the NWC.

The Bearcats will conclude the dual match season on Saturday, April 14 at Pacific Lutheran University. Match time is set for 12:30 p.m. (PDT) in Tacoma, Wash.

Whitman College 9
Willamette University 0
Willamette junior Joshua Wong played an exciting singles match against Conor Holton-Burke of Whitman.

Willamette junior Joshua Wong played an exciting singles match against Conor Holton-Burke of Whitman.