SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University earned a milestone victory with a 6-3 win over Lewis-Clark State in a non-conference men's tennis match on Sunday at the Scotford Tennis Center.
The Pirates improved to 10-7 this season with the first win over the traditional NAIA power Warriors in head coach Mike Shanks' 17-year career. LCSC fell to 9-8. This contest was a rematch of one that took place on February 14th that the Warriors won 8-1 in Lewiston, Idaho.
Whitworth jumped to a 2-1 lead after doubles. Blake Miller and Layne Ryerson gave the Bucs a quick 1-0 lead with their 8-3 win over Sonam Phunstok and Tony Chin at #3 doubles. Drew Brigham and Drew Adams also pulled out a narrow 9-8 (4) victory over Yonas Woldetsadik and Jeff Su at #1 doubles. It might have been a doubles sweep for the Pirates, but LCSC's Quentin Wacquez and Andres Bustani edged Shane Sandlin and Caleb Hughes 9-7 at #2.
Using only three of the Scotford courts because the women's match between the teams was happening simultaneously, LCSC was able to tie the contest 3-3 by winning two of the top three singles contests. But that one Pirate victory was huge. Brigham came from behind to win a marathon 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) contest against Woldetsadik at #1 singles.
But Wacquez edged Miller 5-7, 5-1, 6-2 at #2 singles and Bustani nipped Ryerson 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 at #3 singles to forge the 3-all tie.
Two of the three remaining singles matches also went five sets, creating plenty of drama. But all three of the remaining singles matches broke Whitworth's way, giving the Bucs the win.
First Hughes defeated Phunstok 6-2, 6-4 at #6 singles to give Whitworth back the lead. Then Sandlin rallied for a 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 win that clinched the team victory, defeating Chin at #5 singles. Adams closed out the Bucs' day with his 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 comeback over Su at #4.
The Pirates will carry this momentum into next weekend's home matches against Northwest Conference rivals Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. Two wins will clinch a spot in the 2016 NWC tournament for Whitworth.