Willamette Battles Back to Defeat Whitworth, 6-3, at WU Tennis Courts

Bearcats Trail 2-1 before Winning 5 of 6 Singles Matches

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's tennis team achieved victorious in five of six singles matches to come from behind and defeat visiting Whitworth University, 6-3, in Northwest Conference action at the WU Tennis Courts on Friday, March 15. Whitworth owned a 2-1 lead at the conclusion of doubles, but Willamette battled back to earn the win.

The Bearcats upped their record to 4-6 on the season, 4-4 in the NWC. Whitworth fell to 4-9 overall, 4-4 in the conference.

Whitworth gained an edge after winning two of three very competitive matches in doubles. The Pirates took #2 doubles when Chris Engelmann and Micah Spaun outlasted Will Cooper (Jr., Gresham, OR/Centennial HS) and Devin Abney (So., Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS/Univ. of Redlands), 8-6.

Matt Goebel and Troy Patterson of Whitworth triumphed at #3 doubles over Gunnar Lee (Fr., Hilo, HI/St. Joseph HS) and Colin Yamaguchi (Fr., Damascus, OR/Clackamas HS) of Willamette, 8-6.

Willamette picked up a key victory at #1 doubles, with Joshua Wong (Sr., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) and Sam Wexman (Fr., Tiburon, CA/Gamiscal HS) edging out Cameron Williams and Drew Brigham in a tie-breaker, 9-8 (7-4).

The Bearcats rallied as the singles matches gradually ended. Two quick wins moved Willamette into a 3-2 lead. Wong rolled through #1 singles against Williams, 6-0, 6-0. Abney prevailed at #4 singles, 6-1, 6-3, over Blake Miller.

Even so, Willamette needed two more wins to clinch the overall victory.

Wexman at #2 singles, Cooper at #3 singles and Blake Brash (Fr., Boise, ID/Boise HS) at #6 singles each lost the first set to Whitworth. Jack Schreiber (So., Solana Beach, CA/The Grauer School) of Willamette was locked in a time-consuming match with Spaun of Whitworth at #5 singles.

The overall match started to edge in Willamette's direction when Cooper won the second set at #3 singles to force a third set against Engelmann. At about the same time, Schreiber won the lengthy opening set at #5 singles, 7-5, over Spaun. Wexman at #2 singles and Brash at #6 singles each won his respective second set, as two more matches went the distance.

Cooper continued his comeback and defeated Engelmann, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Schreiber swept through the second set at #5 singles, 6-0, for a straight-set victory.

Those two wins gave Willamette a 5-2 lead, as the Bearcats clinched the team win.

Brash also finished a rally at #6 singles to down Goebel, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Brigham of Whitworth held off Wexman for a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win at #2 singles.

Willamette will host another NWC match on Saturday, March 16, when Lewis & Clark College arrives in Salem, Ore. Match time at the WU Tennis Courts is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PDT). If weather forces the match indoors, the action will still get underway at 1 p.m.

Willamette University 6
Whitworth University 3
Will Cooper of Willamette lost the first set at #3 singles, but rallied to defeat Chris Engelmann, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Will Cooper of Willamette lost the first set at #3 singles, but rallied to defeat Chris Engelmann, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.