SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth women's tennis team hopes to make a return trip to the Northwest Conference Tournament in 2019 and the Pirates begin their season this weekend in Tacoma.
Rachel Aldridge, now in her fifth year as head coach, is back guiding the Whitworth netters after spending the 2018 season on maternity leave.
Whitworth finished the 2018 season with a 7-11 record and a 4-4 mark in NWC matches. The Pirates tied for fourth place, but qualified for the NWC tournament thanks to tiebreakers against Puget Sound.
The Bucs open their schedule with non-conference matches at Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran this weekend. Whitworth returns four starters from last season.
Three-year starter Emma Jo Wiley returns to lead the Pirates in 2019. One of the two seniors on the roster, she finished 7-10 in singles matches last season, mostly at #2 on the ladder. Fellow senior Marissa Kirk went 4-6 in singles play, mostly at #6.
Junior Erica Lee made the jump to #1 on Whitworth's singles ladder in 2018, posting a record of 4-11.
Lee and Wiley were one of the best doubles tandems in the NWC in 2018, finishing with a 10-3 record (all at #1 on the doubles ladder), 6-1 against conference opponents.
Sophomore Avery Liening made the jump into during her first season. She went 7-10 last season, 2-3 at #3 and 5-7 at #4 on the singles ladder.
The top four teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will make the 2019 Northwest Conference tournament. The top seed will host the event on the weekend of April 27-28. The winner of the NWC tournament will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.