Doubles gain early lead, but Wildcats slip in singles
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Seizing wins in the top two doubles flights, the Linfield Wildcats looked capable of knocking off the favored George Fox Bruins Saturday afternoon. Leading 2-1 in the match, the Wildcats could not sustain the momentum as the Bruins surged for a 6-3 Northwest Conference victory inside Rutschman Field House
The loss left Linfield still searching for its first win of the season. George Fox, ranked 11th in the preseason regional rankings, upped its record to 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the NWC, second-best among conference schools.
“We won the doubles battle today, but we lost the singles war,” said Wildcats coach Carl Swanson, sounding a bit more like a army commander than a tennis coach.
Zachery Lyons (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.) and Lukas Kleinman (Soph., Vancouver, Wash.) scratched out an 8-6 victory over George Fox’s No. 1 duo of Chris Lilley and Peter Brown. Micah Roos (Soph., Port Angeles, Wash.) and partner Tim Hawkins (Fr., Boise, Idaho) knocked off the Bruins’ Justin McClain and Matt Deming 8-4 in the No. 2 pairing. But perhaps the match’s overall outcome hinged on No. 3 doubles, where George Fox’s Chace Stalcup and Mitchell Miyashiro worked their way around Linfield’s freshman combo of Alex Mangan (Fr., Klamath Falls, Ore.) and Robert Beezer (Fr., Gig Harbor, Wash.) for an 8-6 decision.
George Fox rallied to claim five of the six singles matchups, the only exception coming at No. 4 where Kleinman took down Stalcup in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
Linfield’s Nick Konen (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.), playing his first collegiate singles match, forced a third set at No. 3, only to fall 2-6, 6-2, 10-4 to his opponent, Ben Fullhart.
In other singles matches, McClain downed Lyons 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1, Mann dropped Roos 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2, and Milton produced a 6-0, 6-2 result over Hawkins, another Linfield frosh, 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3. Miyashiro blanked Beezer 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5.
“Zach and Lukas were sharp and efficient,” said Swanson. “Tim and Micah came together as a team this weekend and picked up their second consecutive win. Lukas played with great poise and confidence and picked up a convincing victory in singles to go with his doubles result.”
AHEAD: Linfield takes an extended break for Spring Break before returning to the court to face Lewis & Clark at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in Portland. The Wildcats host their final match of the season the following day when they welcome Pacific Lutheran to McMinnville.