SPOKANE, Wash. – Riding the momentum of a sweep in doubles, Whitworth University defeated visiting George Fox 7-2 in a match that could change the Pirates' fortunes in the Northwest Conference women's tennis race.
Whitworth improved to 4-9 overall and 3-5 in the NWC while the Bruins dropped to 9-7, 4-3. The Bucs needed to defeat GFU by more than the 5-4 score that the Bruins won by in the teams' first meeting last month in Oregon. Should the teams tie for the fourth and final conference playoff spot, the Pirates will hold the tiebreaker.
Whitworth jumped to a 3-0 lead after doubles play. Bella Hoyos and Jennifer Adams had little trouble winning at #1 doubles by an 8-2 score over Sarah Tuemmler and Taylor Barnes. Anabelle Burns and Emma Jo Wiley came back from an early deficit to knock off Catrina Kwong and Kristen Mock 8-6 at #2 doubles.
But the biggest comeback belonged to Paige Rohrbach and KC McConnell for Whitworth at #3 doubles. The Pirate pair trailed Andrea Motley and Ali Diehl 7-5 late in the match. But they won the final four games to claim a 9-7 victory. In fact, Rohrbach and McConnell won 12 of the match's final 13 points.
The visitors pulled back to within 3-2 when Ellen Pearson defeated McConnell 7-5, 6-1 at #4 singles, followed by Tuemmler's 6-3, 6-2 win over Hoyos at #1 singles.
But Burns defeated Motley 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 at #5 singles to increase the Pirates' lead to 4-2. Adams then clinched the Bucs' team victory with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at #3 singles.
Rohrbach pulled out a 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory over Diehl at #6 singles. Wiley withstood a marathon three-setter with Kwong at #2 singles 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (2). Wiley led 4-1 in the third set before Kwong stormed to a 5-4 lead. Wiley then came back a final time to force the tiebreaker and win going-away.
Whitworth will close out the weekend on Sunday against NWC-leading and nationally-ranked Lewis & Clark.