By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University grabbed a 3-0 lead in doubles and then split the six singles matches for a 6-3 victory over visiting Pacific University, at the Salem Tennis and Swim Club on Sunday, April 15. The Bearcats concluded their season at 8-9 overall, 2-6 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific slipped to 2-10 for its final record, including 0-8 in the NWC. Willamette honored seniors Mikaila Smith (Sr., Mill Valley, CATamalpais HS) and Noemi Cruz-Cruz (Sr., Galt, CALiberty Ranch HS) before the first match started.
"Today was such an enjoyable and inspiring way to end our season," Willamette Head Coach Bryce Parmelly said. "Our doubles have been getting better and better as of late and to get the sweep today was huge. In singles, we continued the trend of competing with tough, brilliant efforts from everybody."
In the #1 doubles match, Willamette's team of Smith and Robin Pashek (Fr., The Dalles, ORThe Dalles-Wahtonka HS) defeated Chantelle Baclay and Marissa Hayashi of Pacific, 8-4. The Bearcats also claimed an 8-4 triumph at #3 doubles, as Siena Ginsburg (Fr., Bend, ORSummit HS) and Alexis Gjurasic (Jr., Olympia, WA/Capital HS) outlasted Megan Meatte and Callie Oyama of the Boxers. At #2 doubles, Willamette gained a key win, as Sarah Dean (Fr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) and Sylvia Marr (Fr., Grants Pass, OR/Hidden Valley HS) edge out Sophia Nishimura and Johanna Wilson, 8-6.
The lead for the Bearcats fell to 3-1 when Nishimura defeated Ginsburg at #4 singles, 6-0, 6-2, but Willamette added wins by Sarah Dean at #3 singles and from Pashek at #2 singles to clinch the overall win. Dean rolled past Meatte, 6-1, 6-0, while Pashek downed Hayashi, 6-2, 6-0.
At #1 singles, Baclay held off Smith in two very competitive sets. In the first set, Baclay surged out to a 3-0 led, but Smith rallied to take leads of 5-4 and 6-5. Baclay forced the set into a tie-breaker, which she won 8-6. Iin the second set, Baclay prevailed, 6-4.
Marr of Willamette won #5 singles in a super tie-breaker played instead of a third set. She defeated Wilson of Pacific, 6-4, 1-6, 10-7. In the #6 singles match, Oyama won for the Boxers against Hannah Andres (Jr., Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) form Willamette, 6-4, 6-2.
"Our seniors did amazingly well and we are truly going to miss them," Parmelly noted. "Mikaila played fantastic doubles to get the win and lost a very close and exciting singles match. Noemi won both of her exhibition singles and doubles matches to finish her college tennis career. I couldn't be more proud of both of them. It was an amazing first season and I am so proud of this team."
The match concluded a solid season for the Bearcats under first-year Head Coach Bryce Parmelly. The Bearcats improved by seven wins over the team's 1-14 record in 2016-17. It is the first time the Bearcats have won at least eight matches since 2010-11 when WU finished the year at 10-7.