Living to play another set
Courtesy of Linfield sports information
PARKLAND, Wash. – For the 14th straight year, the Northwest Conference Women's Tennis Tournament field includes Linfield. The Wildcats ensured that with a berth-clinching 8-1 victory over host Pacific Lutheran Saturday afternoon at the PLU Tennis Courts.
Save for a close defeat in top-flight doubles, Linfield swept the Lutes to wrap up the No. 3 seed in the postseason tournament, to be contested April 26-27.
A complete Wildcat singles lineup included Kelly Watanabe, who aggravated an injury nearly a month ago and while continuing to compete in doubles, had been held out of the singles lineup as a precaution.
Watanabe made quick work of PLU's Megan Beyers in her return, claiming a 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles. Kaila Nip pushed the ‘Cats closer to the decisive fifth point with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Samantha Lund in the second flight and Caroline Brigham sewed up the team win with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 triumph over Leah Newell.
Linfield's bottom half of the singles ladder went 3-0 in three completely different ways: a three-set battle, set-and-a-half injury default and straight-set victory. Marisa Kume rallied for a 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 win against Mariah Siemion and Gretchen Jernstedt responded from a 6-7 (7-2) first-set loss and held 3-0 advantage against Emily Bower before the Lute was forced to withdraw. Mackenzie Fraser notched the 6-3, 6-1 victory against Stephanie Baker.
Earlier, in doubles action, Nip and Watanabe partnered for an 8-1 victory over Allison McClure and Siemion at No. 2 doubles while Mostul and Jernstedt posted an identical score against Bower and Beyers in the third flight. But Newell and Lund spoiled the straight sweep and kept the match close with a tough 8-6 win over Brigham and Fraser.
Linfield hosts the Northwest Conference's top two programs – Whitman and Whitworth – in back-to-back home matches Friday and Saturday.
Linfield 9, Pacific 0
Registering its ninth 10-win season of the past decade, Linfield moved one step closer to securing a berth in the Northwest Conference Women's Tennis Tournament with a 9-0 victory over visiting Pacific on a beautiful Friday afternoon outdoors at the Linfield Tennis Center.
Caroline Brigham avenged a three-set loss to Pacific's Kaitlyn Lomartire at No. 1 doubles, three Wildcats achieved their 10th singles victories of the season and Linfield won every set en route to the dominating home-court triumph.
Brigham topped Lomartire 6-4, 6-4 in the marquee singles match of the evening.
Kaila Nip earned her 10th singles win of the year, defeating Carlee Rhodaback 6-1, 6-2 and Marisa Kume rounded out the top three doubles sweep with her 6-0, 6-0 shutout of Danielle Wicks.
Linfield 8, Willamette 1
SALEM– Running its win streak to eight Linfield kept momentum going into the penultimate weekend of the Northwest Conference women's tennis regular season with an 8-1 victory over Willamette Wednesday evening at the Willamette Tennis Courts.
Willamette's top tandem, Sabrina Gutierrez and Denise Poltavski, handed Caroline Brigham and Mackenzie Fraser an 8-3 loss, but the two Wildcats responded with victories at No. 1 and No. 5 singles, clinching the match for Linfield. Brigham had the upper hand in singles against Gutierrez, winning 6-4, 6-4 as Fraser topped Olina Cavedoni 6-2, 6-3.
Linfield took a 2-1 advantage into singles after Kaila Nip and Kelly Watanabe defeated Alicia Sohn and Taylor Coggeshall 8-1, while Gretchen Jernstedt and Courtney Mostul blanked Cavedoni and Emily Guimont 8-0.