Willamette Opens NWC Play with Rally from 2-1 Deficit to Defeat Loggers, 5-4

Colin Fisher (Jr., Caldwell, ID/Thomas Jefferson Charter School)
Colin Fisher (Jr., Caldwell, ID/Thomas Jefferson Charter School)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

TACOMA, Wash. -- Willamette University trailed 2-1 following the doubles matches in its Northwest Conference opener at University of Puget Sound on Saturday, March 16, but the Bearcats won four of six singles matches to rally past the Loggers for a 5-4 win. The Bearcats moved to 1-6 on the year, and started their NWC schedule at 1-0. Willamette is 1-3 during the spring season. Puget Sound slipped to 0-6 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.

Aaron Schechter (Sr., Seattle, WA/James A. Garfield HS) picked up the clinching win for the Bearcats at #2 singles, as he won in straight sets against Joshua Wah-Blumberg, 7-5, 6-2, to give the Bearcats a 5-3 lead.

"The team started off slow in doubles," Willamette Head Coach Rick Wood commented. "Most of the team is recovering from being sick and it showed. But we came out with two quick wins at #3 singles and #6 singles, and rallied to take the match. I am really proud of the team."

The Loggers grabbed their early lead by winning #1 and #3 doubles. Both were competitive matches. In the top doubles match, Riley Inn and Wah-Blumberg held off Andrew Kabacy (Fr., Vancouver, WA/Skyview HS) and Schechter, 8-5. At #3 doubles, Lowell Hutton and Graham Bryon outscored Luke Hiserman (So., Monterey, CA/Pacific Grove HS) and Charles Pezeshki (Fr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS), 8-6.

Willamette took #2 doubles, as Colin Fisher (Jr., Caldwell, ID/Thomas Jefferson Charter School) and Gene Perle-Jones (Jr., Eugene, OR/North Eugene HS) moved past Ben Colson and Aiden Velasco, 8-3.

The first two singles matches to be completed were both won by the Bearcats, as Fisher succeeded at #3 singles and Pezeshki triumphed at #6 singles. Fisher downed Colson, 6-1, 6-2, while Pezeshki defeated Byron, 6-0, 6-4. Willmaette led 3-2.

Hutton of Puget Sound won against Hiserman at #5 singles, 6-0, 6-3, to pull the Loggers into a 3-3 tie in the overall match. Kabacy of WU took a close win versus Inn during the first set at #1 singles, 6-4, before winning the second set, 6-1, and giving the Bearcats a 4-3 advantage. Schechter's vicotry at #2 singles locked up the team victory for the Bearcats.

The final match on the courts was #4 singles, where Velasco of Puget Sound outlasted Perle-Jones of Willamette in three sets. Velasco won, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.

Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday (March 17). Match time is slated for 10 a.m. (PST).

Aaron Schechter (Sr., Seattle, WA/James A. Garfield HS)

Big Moment of the Match for Willamette

Aaron Schechter provided the Bearcats with the win that
clinched the overall result in a 5-4 win over the Loggers.
Schechter won #2 singles over Joshua Wah-Blumberg,
7-5, 6-2, to give Willamette a 5-3 lead.