Men's Tennis Set to Open 2017 Campaign

Men's Tennis Set to Open 2017 Campaign

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth will officially open the 2017 men's tennis season this weekend with a pair of tough non-conference contests.  The Pirates will play at NCAA Division I Eastern Washington on Friday at 3:00 pm.  Then the Bucs travel to NAIA power Lewis-Clark State College on Saturday at 11:00 am.

Head coach Mike Shanks is in his 18th season leading the Pirates.  Whitworth is coming off of a 12-8 season in 2016 in which they went 8-4 in the Northwest Conference and qualified for the conference tournament.

The Pirates return only two of their top six singles players from last season, led by senior Shane Sandlin.  Sandlin posted an 8-6 record while playing at #5 on the ladder last year.  Fellow senior Caleb Hughes went 4-4 in singles and had the most playing time at #6 on the ladder.

Ian Fisher and Jeffrey Vulis, both juniors, and sophomore Nick Hughes saw limited playing time in 2016 but will be called upon for more important roles this season.

Newcomers Ben Bethards and Jake Bethards round out the roster and should make an immediate impact.

As always, the doubles teams will be a work-in-progress as Shanks figures out his best combinations of players.  However, it is likely that Sandlin and Caleb Hughes will pair up again in 2017 after posting a stellar 16-4 record as a tandem last spring.

After this weekend's matches Whitworth will open Northwest Conference play in Oregon next weekend at George Fox and Lewis & Clark.