by Kyle Cacoyannis
The men’s tennis team fell to Whitman 7-2 Saturday on the outside courts of the Scotford Tennis Center.
“I told the team that I feel happy with the way they played, as we came away with a couple matches against a nationally-ranked Whitman,” assistant coach Cameron Williams said. “However we don’t feel content, since we have a lot of expectations for our team.”
Whitworth went down 2-0 in their doubles matches before senior Chris Engelmann and junior Drew Adams won their doubles match 9-8 in a tiebreaker. The match kept the Bucs within striking distance going into singles play. This was the pair’s first doubles win of the season.
“Chris and I have had a lot of close doubles matches this year, so it was nice to finally finish one,” Adams said. “I thought we were consistent and made them play really well, forcing them to finish plays.”
No match is easy against conference-leading and defending-champion Whitman, and the Missionaries showed that in their singles play. Whitworth lost every singles match, except for senior Matt Goebel’s dominant contest with Goebel winning in straight sets.
“In singles today I was good at being consistent and kept the ball deep while keeping my opponent moving,” Goebel said. “Overall we played well today, putting in good rallies in doubles and getting smart points.”
Along with Goebel’s win, the other big highlight of the day was Adams’ and Engelmann’s doubles match. The pair had to come up with a win to keep Whitworth alive, and they did so in a nail-bitter.
The crowd was drawn into the match and erupted whenever Engelmann or Adams smashed home a big point. The crowd went even wilder when the pair won a point at the net to put the match away.
“Drew and I are a good combination, since I have a lot of power while he has great finesse,” Engelmann said. “Our styles complement each other, so we need to continue learning to play with each other to get our chemistry.”
Whitworth is still searching for its first win this season, but they have faced some tough competition at the start, and suffered a tough loss to George Fox. However, the coaches see the team improving with every match, and are confident that they can turn these positive results into wins.
“The most tangible goal is where we land in conference, so we want to finish top four so we can make the conference tournament,” Williams said. “We need to know when to go for big shots and when to be patient.”
Whitworth plays again next weekend in Tacoma, Washington against the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, and Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday.