by Jessica Razanadrakoto
The Whitworth men’s tennis team lost a hard fought battle against the 14th-ranked Whitman team in the ITA last week on Wednesday evening with a final score of 9-0.
The Pirates had opportunities in doubles, but were not able to pull out points, as all three doubles matches ended with close losses.
Sophomore Drew Brigham and freshman Shane Sandlin fell 8-6 in No. 1 doubles.
At one point toward the end of the match, Sandlin returned the ball deep to the unsuspecting Whitman No. 1 doubles team as the ball landed in the corner of their box, giving the Pirates a point.
“It was a lot of pressure,” Sandlin said. “If I win, I will have won the match, if he won, he kept the match going.”
Another point came for the Pirates in the second set when Brigham hit the ball and it bounced on top of the net. The Missionaries were not able to hit it back, and the ball landed on the other side of the net.
Sophomore Blake Miller and junior Matt Goebel in No. 3 doubles also played aggressively, had lots of volleys, managed to return a lot of hits from Whitman, but ended with a loss, 8-6.
Miller put away a large amount of overheads and aimed his shots to his opponents’ baseline.
Similar plays happened throughout the match played by senior John Talbot and sophomore Drew Adams ,who lost 8-5 in No. 2 doubles.
In No. 3 singles, junior Chris Engelmann fell to Whitman competition 6-3, 6-2.
“There were a lot of deuce games,” Engelmann said. “They were really close games, and he just converted a lot more of the longer games than I did. It reflected the quality of the play during the match.”
Though Sandlin in No. 6 singles lost his match, he went went into multiple tie breaker rounds, as he and his opponent exchanged several volleys before the match was decided, 12-10.
“I thought the team played pretty well,” Engelmann said. “We played a nationally-ranked team today, really good squad and I think we all really tried our best, showed up, played very hard, and had a lot of heart on the court today.”
The Pirates dropped to 6-10 overall and 5-5 in conference play.
“The bottom line is we lost,” head coach Mike Shanks said. “ Yes, they are nationally ranked very high, but losing is always a bitter pill to swallow. We will learn from it and use it positively.”
The Bucs will play against visiting Willamette and Linfield this weekend in the Scotford Tennis Center.