By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Whitman College, ranked #23 in the NCAA Division III Poll released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), survived strong opposition at #1 doubles and #1 singles to down Willamette University, 9-0, in a Northwest Conference men's tennis match on Saturday, April 6. The win at the Salem Tennis and Swim Club improved the Blues to 5-0 in the NWC and to 6-10 overall. In addition to holding the #23 national ranking, Whitman is ranked #6 in the NCAA West Region. Willamette slipped to 1-2 in the NWC, 1-9 on the season.
"Playing Whitman is always tough," Willamette Head Coach Rick Wood said. "I ask the team to focus on playing well and the team did. I'm very happy with our play today, especially at #1 singles and #1 doubles."
At #1 doubles, Willamette's team of Andrew Kabacy (Fr., Vancouver, WA/Skyview HS) and Aaron Schechter (Sr., Seattle, WA/James A. Garfield HS) almost pulled off an upset against Alex Hwang and Andreas Mueller-Immergluck of Whitman, who are ranked #12 in the West Region. Kabacy and Schechter owned a 6-5 lead, before Hwang and Mueller-Immergluck won consecutive games to move in front, 7-6. Kabacy and Schechter earned a service break to tie the match at 7-7, sending it into a tie-breaker.
During the tie-breaker, Kabacy and Schechter built a 2-1 led, but Whitman's team ran off four points in a row for a 5-2 edge. Kabacy put together two strong service points to pull within 5-4. Hwang and Mueller-Immergluck won the next two rallies to take the match 8-7 (7-4).
Kabacy faced Whitman's Ben Kirsh at #1 singles. Kirsh, ranked #10 in the West Region, won victorious in the first set, 6-2, but received a strong battle from Kabacy in the second set. Kirsh prevailed 7-5.
The #3 singles and #4 singles matches each had a set where Whitman had to hold off a solid challenge. At #3 singles, Adam Rapoport outscored Colin Fisher (Jr., Caldwell, ID/Thomas Jefferson Charter School) of Willamette in the first set, 6-3, and won the second set, 6-2. At #4 singles, Hwang of Whitman took the first set, 6-2, and then held off Gene Perle-Jones (Jr., Eugene, OR/North Eugene HS) in the second set, 6-3.
Other winners for the Blues in singles were Daniel Foster at #2, Mueller-Immergluck at #5, and Raj Chikkalingaiah at #6.
Willamette will return to the Salem Tennis and Swim Club on Sunday, April 7 to battle Whitworth University in NWC action. Match time is scheduled for 10 a.m. (PDT).
Big Moment of the Match for Willamette
Andrew Kabacy picked up back-to-back service points during the tie-breaker
at #1 doubles to pull within 5-4. The Blues went on to win #1 doubles, 8-7 (7-4),
but Kabacy and Aaron Schechter gave the regionally ranked team of Alex Hwang
and Andreas Mueller-Immergluck all they could handle, including a service break
to force the tie-breaker. In singles, Kabacy provided Ben Kirsh with a strong fight
in the second set, before Kirsh, ranked #10 in the West Region, won, 6-2, 7-5.