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The Whitworthian

The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

Pirates secure spot in NWC playoffs

by Miranda Cloyd

In a double-win weekend, the Whitworth women’s tennis team beat the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University to secure its spot in the Northwest Conference Tournament. The Pirates took a 7-2 win over UPS last Friday followed by a 9-0 sweep of PLU last Saturday.

In the match against UPS, the Pirates started out with a 3-0 sweep in doubles. Cheers of excitement were loudly heard from players and also by spectators filling the bleachers at the Whitworth Tennis Center.

Sophomore Saryn Mooney and freshman Taylor Peña, at No. 1 doubles, took the win 8-4. While they were confident in their ability to win, the team went in knowing it would be a tough match, Mooney said. In addition to her victory in doubles, Mooney won in two sets at No. 1 singles, scoring 6-3, 6-1.

“She didn’t have a whole lot of power,” Mooney said. “I usually rely on my opponent to get my own power, so I just had to stay consistent.”

Senior Megan Wingfield and her partner, sophomore Morgan McDivitt, came out on top in a close match at No. 2 doubles, winning 8-6. As a doubles team, Wingfield and McDivitt are 8-3 for the conference season.

Wingfield’s victory in doubles gave her momentum going into her match at No. 4 singles, during which she took the two-set win, scoring 6-2, 7-5. Wingfield took the match point with a volley at the net shot to the far corner of her opponent’s court.

“I had more energy because it was the start of the weekend,” Wingfield said. “I didn’t have too tough of a time with her [opponent Marissa Friedman].”

Following their victory over UPS, the Pirates hosted PLU. The team needed to win by at least three match victories in order to secure its spot at the NWC tournament, head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff said.

After another 3-0 sweep in doubles, the team was more than halfway to their goal. Mooney and Peña, at No. 1 doubles, contributed to the sweep with an 8-2 win. Having played the same team earlier in the season, Mooney and Peña went into their doubles match knowing it would be a challenge, Mooney said.

“Last time we were stunned by them, but [this time] we were a little bit more prepared,” Mooney said. “Our main idea was to stay consistent and be aggressive when we can, but not be stupid.”

Mooney’s first set at No. 1 singles was close, ending in a tie-break of 7-3. The difference was greater in the second set, in which Mooney beat her opponent 6-1. After Mooney’s win, the team was ahead by enough points to secure their spot at the NWC Tournament.

Wingfield and McDivitt, playing again at No. 2 doubles, had a long match that ended in a close victory of 9-7. Wingfield and McDivitt love playing together and hardly have to communicate anymore because they know each other’s strategies so well, Wingfield said.

Wingfield went on to another close match in singles competition, in which she came out on top with a score of 7-5, 6-4. Her match was the last to finish, bringing the team to its final score of 9-0 over PLU. Wingfield’s strategy throughout was simply keeping the ball in the court, she said.

“I usually like to be aggressive, but if I [was] too aggressive with her I [ended] up making the mistake first,” Wingfield said.

The team will have a non-conference match against Lewis-Clark State on Wednesday, April 17 at the Whitworth Tennis Center. The rest of the week will be spent preparing for the NWC Tournament next weekend in Walla Walla, Wash.

Contact Miranda Cloyd at [email protected]

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Pirates secure spot in NWC playoffs