by Kyle Cacoyannis
The men’s tennis team lost both their matches on their trip to Oregon where they competed against Pacific University on Saturday and George Fox University on Sunday.
Whitworth fell by a final score of 8-1 against Pacific in Forest Grove, Oregon.
“I think what happened is that we couldn’t break through at really big times,” coach Mike Shanks said. “We played a little bit ‘not to lose’ opposed to aggressive at times.”
The Pirates lost all their doubles matches, and lost all but one singles game, as senior Matt Goebel won in a tiebreaker. However, the score was not as one-sided as the box score made it appear.
Junior Blake Miller and sophomore Shane Sandlin both had extremely close losses in three sets in their respective singles matches, while senior Chris Engelmann and junior Drew Adams lost their doubles match 9-7.
“We played hard today as a team, so we need to work on playing with the same intensity, but also hitting big shots at big times,” Engelmann said.
The Pirates are a team that Shanks said without a doubt has great potential. They need to keep working on playing with the correct mindset and that if the team starts playing with more confidence they are going to start winning much more, Shanks said.
Goebel was one player that reflected that potential, winning his singles match and losing 8-5 in his doubles match.
“I have to say that Matt Goebel was the standout performer of the day,” Shanks said.
On Sunday, Whitworth fell in a heartbreaker to George Fox 5-4 in Newberg, Oregon. The stakes were especially high for this matchup, as the two teams only meet once this season, unlike most other matches where the scores are aggregated from the two home and away competitions.
“It’s frustrating to lose 5-4, but it is such an improvement from the way we played against them last year,” Sandlin said.
The final results literally came down to a few points, which left players such as Sandlin feeling disappointed. However, the players and coaches saw major positives to take away from the team’s performance.
Junior Drew Brigham and Sandlin won their doubles match 9-8, and their respective singles matches. Adams also came up with a blowout win in two sets in his singles match.
The team improved greatly from their average performance against Pacific, with a much better effort on Sunday.
“I don’t know what happened last night, but something happened and today we came out to play,” Brigham said.
The team recognizes its progress as the matches go by, and they are staying focused on being positive and working on their game every day, Brigham said. Matches like these are reflecting the results.
“We’ve never come that close to beating George Fox,” Brigham said. “That is proof we can be a contender this year in conference.”