by Caleb Mathena
Whitworth women’s tennis split their matches at home this weekend, claiming a key 7-2 victory over George Fox on Saturday while falling to nationally-ranked Lewis & Clark, 0-9 on Sunday.
The Pirates began Saturday’s match by sweeping the Bruins in doubles. Junior Bella Hoyos and sophomore Jennifer Adams dominated their George Fox counterparts, 8-2.
“I think, as a team, we were both just very patient,” Adams said. “We set each other up for the ball really well. Both of us hit really consistent, deep shots and it gave us so many opportunities to poach and hit winners at the net.”
The No. 2 doubles team, junior Anabelle Burns and freshman Emma Joe Wiley, won their match, 8-6, after a comeback in the sixth game. The No. 3 duo, freshman Paige Rohrbach and senior KC McConnell also surged back from a substantial deficit late in the match, outscoring their opponents in four straight games to win 9-7.
George Fox answered back by winning two singles matches. No. 1 Hoyos lost 6-3, 6-2 and No. 4 McConnell 7-5, 6-1. But wins by Wiley, Adams, Burns, and Rohrbach clinched the match for the Pirates.
The win put Whitworth back in the running for a playoff bid. Should it come down to a tie in record with George Fox, Whitworth would hold the tiebreaker.
“Our number one goal today was just to compete well and leave it all out on the court,” head coach Rachel Aldridge said. “We knew on paper going into today that it was going to be an uphill climb. And so, rather than focusing on winning and losing matches or sets, we really just tried to focus on being in every point and making them earn it.”
The Pioneers took all three doubles matches, winning 8-3 on courts 1 and 2 and 8-2 on court 3.
The most contentious match was on court No. 1, where Hoyos faced off against seventh-ranked Summer Garrison. Garrison struck quickly in the first set, winning five of the first seven games, but Hoyos battled back in games eight and nine to make it 4-5. The set came down to a tiebreaker, which Garrison managed to win, and so the first set went to L&C 5-7.
Hoyos and Garrison traded games for the majority of the second set. However, Garrison managed to stay a game ahead until she pulled away late with a 6-3 win.
“For me, the highlight was my comeback in the first set,” Hoyos said. “The first set kind of sets the tone for the whole match, so if I would’ve lost that first set, say 1-6, I don’t think I would have been able to play as tough as I did in the second set.”
Whitworth now sits at 4-6 in the Northwest Conference after this weekend. The Bucs will stay at home next weekend when they take on Bellevue Community College at 4 p.m. on Friday the 9th, Pacific at 11 a.m. on Saturday the 10th, and Lewis-Clark State at 10 a.m. on Sunday the 11th.