Whitman bounces Linfield in NWC semifinal
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Whitman continued its march toward a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship, cutting down Linfield 6-0 Friday morning at the NWC Tournament, contested inside the Bratton Tennis Center.
The favored Missionaries (16-3) advanced to Sunday’s championship match, where they will face the winner of the 2 p.m. semifinal match between second-seeded Lewis & Clark and third-seeded Whitworth.
Against the Wildcats, Whitman opened up a 3-0 advantage after doubles, cruising to a pair of relatively easy victories in the top two flights and winning a catfight at No. 3 doubles.
Alyssa Roberg and Courtney Lawless downed Caroline Brigham (Jr., Eagle, Idaho) and Kwynn Ecton (Fr., Fort Collins, Colo.) 8-1 at No. 1 doubles, while Madison Webster and Morgan Lawless dispatched Lexi Thomas (Sr., Redding, Calif.) and Gretchen Jernstedt (Soph., Wilsonville, Ore.) 8-3 in the middle flight.
Kaila Nip (Soph., Lahaina, Hawaii) and Kelly Watanabe (Soph., Kirkland, Wash.) nearly pulled off the upset over Whitman’s No. 3 pair, but Katrina Allick and Kate Rubinstein prevailed 8-6 to complete the sweep.
Roberg’s 6-1, 6-0 victory over Thomas at No. 2 singles left the Missionaries needing just one more point to secure the match victory and earn a place in the championship match for the second straight season.
Courtney Lawless supplied the necessary win in the top flight, defeating Brigham by a score of 6-4, 6-1. With the No. 1 and No. 4 matches finishing nearly simultaneously, Jenna Dobrin’s 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Ecton was also counted in the final team score.
The third and fifth flights were left unfinished, while the sixth did not start.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield wrapped up the year with a 8-10 overall record, including a 7-5 mark achieved during the regular conference season…the Missionaries defeated the Wildcats for the third straight time, dating back to last year’s title match at the NWC Tournament…Thomas played in her final collegiate match, ending her three-year Linfield career with 18 total singles victories and 24 doubles wins.