So, I was halfway through a post last week about our road trip to Spokane. As I fumbled with the keyboard and my thoughts on our amazing seniors who led us to victory over conference rival Whitworth, Whitman's student newspaper, the Pioneer beat me to it. If you haven't already, you can read about our season outlook especially what Morgan, Erin, Maddy and Courtney bring to this team here.
Starting the season with three tough road matches, it was so nice to return home. We had a wonderful week of February weather with outdoor practices and sunny warm days on Ankeny. However, the weekend brought a cold snap and an overnight shower Friday so we tried to play George Fox outside, but had to go in for doubles while the courts dried before coming outside to play singles in the sun. This team can handle anything and we swept all four doubles again with great leadership from the top with Courtney and Morgan, but tremendous play from Seana and Lindsey at #3 to beat a Fox team that is probably their toughest point in the lineup. At #2, the duo of Maddy and Hanna brought big energy for the sweep and Alex and Jenna G played an exhibition that they swept 8-0. Moving outside, all three first years got on court and Jenna and Hanna won quickly to seal the match. Courtney finished next to keep the first years from a 1,2,3 finish, then Lindsey battled through her second set while Allie stayed focused to also win in 2 sets. This all set up a big third set tie break from Jenna D, who played some of her best tennis when it counted to get the win. I really like the direction George Fox is going, which is indicitive of our whole conference; we're all getting deeper and more talented, but even more than that they way they compete is with class and great sportsmanship.
Sunday it got even colder, so we agreed to start and stay inside (I hope some of you enjoyed the live streaming, send me feedback if it worked/didn't work or if we can make it better). Pacific brought a young, athletic team and their big hitting duo of Kaitlyn Lomartire and Jelena Vidovic faced off with Courtney and Morgan at 1 dubs. This brought out the best of the twins in the young season as they improved both their shot execution and court coverage for a key 8-6 win at 1 doubles. First off, however were 2 and 4 doubles (exhibition). Again, Alex and Jenna G (Little J) were solid in scoring an 8-0 win and Erin and Katrina dominated 8-1 to get us on the scoreboard. At #3, Jenna D and Allie used great serving and big groundies to win points or set up net finishes and put us up 3-0 after doubles.
|Cheering on Courtney and Morgan vs Pacifc|
In singles, at #3-6 we got straight set wins from Allie, Erin, Alex and Little J with Allie doing just about everything right, Erin fighting hard when her opponent tried to make a run, Alex dominated start to finish and Jenna fought through some of her own unforced errors to lock down her match. While Courtney rested, Morgan battled at #2 and while the scoreline of 1-6,2-6 looks daunting, Jelena is a great player who looks to be playing some of the best tennis in our conference right from the start of the season and the second set really could have swung Mo's way early before Jelena came up with some huge shots on key points. The #1 match was the battle of the day with two big hitting baseliners going at it. Jenna fought through a tight first set and came up with some huge winners to seal it. Then, Kaitlyn got it going and was up a break 4-1 in the second. Jenna stayed focused and got the break back and broke again to win 6-4,6-4. It was a great match for both players and we enjoyed the level of hitting and athleticism both brought.
But, that was just a warm up for the Bratton Tennis Center. We'll host the Whitman Winter Classic this Friday through Sunday. We're talking about so much great tennis all day long in Bratton! Coming to town are the #38 ranked Whittier Poets and #39 Texas Tyler Patriots to play us, Linfield (#10 West) and Lewis and Clark (#15 West). The Poets are an up and coming team with one of the top singles players in the West and UT Tyler is always at or near the top of their conference and last year we faced them in the first round of NCAA's scoring hard fought 5-4 win. The action will start each morning and go until we finish each night, and if that's not enough for you - at the end, Whitworth comes to town for our second of two NWC matches with them.
9am Whitman vs Whittier (WC v WC)
1 pm (not before) UT Tyler vs Lewis and Clark
5pm (not before) Whittier vs Linfield
9am UT Tyler v Whittier
1pm (not before) UT Tyler v Linfield
5pm (not before) Whittier v Lewis and Clark
9am Whitman vs UT Tyler
1pm (not before) Whitman vs Whitworth
Live streaming will be through the Whitman athletics website there is either a camera link on the schedule or you click on Multimedia and Live stream to watch all 4 courts! Scoring will most likely be via twitter, but we're working on if we can get it on the livestream or put up a scoreboard somehow.
Those of you coming to Walla Walla, we'll plan on a team/family/alum dinner Saturday night - I haven't worked out the details so get in touch if you'll be there or would like to help plan!
Thanks for following WC Women's Tennis!