WALLA WALLA - Kicking off a stretch of seven Northwest Conference matches in five days, the Whitman College men's tennis team turned an early sweep in doubles into a 9-0 shutout of short-handed Pacific Lutheran Friday afternoon.
Whitman, one of two undefeated NWC teams, improved to 6-0 conference and 7-1 overall. The Lutes, missing two key players, slipped to 7-4 in the NWC.
Whitman, stretching its NWC regular season winning streak to 56 victories, drained some of the drama from the match with its opening sweep in doubles.
Doubles started at 3 p.m. on the outdoor courts under cool, cloudy and windy conditions. By the time rain started falling, Whitman had picked off victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, but the battle at No. 1 was all even at 8-8.
When that match resumed shortly thereafter in the Bratton Tennis Center, Pacific Lutheran's Joel Trudel and Justin Peterson jumped to early leads of 2-1 and 4-2 in the tie-breaker. But Whitman senior Matt Solomon and junior sidekick Etienne Moshevich ripped off five straight points to take the breaker and the match.
In the other duels in doubles, senior Christoph Fuchs and junior Quin Miller were 8-4 winners over Scott Sheldon and Taylor Dickey in the No. 2 slot, and senior Jake Cappel and freshman Jeff Tolman notched an 8-3 win over Brent Smoots and Brian Higginbotham at No. 3.
Whitman, which had nipped the Lutes 5-4 in Tacoma last month, kept up the energy and pressure in singles, intent on not allowing its long-time tennis rival back into the match.
Solomon, who lost to Trudel in two sets last month in Tacoma, turned the tables in the showcase match at No. 1 singles, winning 6-1, 6-4.
At No. 2 singles, Tolman also enjoyed a reversal of fortune, winning his rematch with Peterson 6-4, 6-3. Peterson rallied to beat Tolman in three sets in their first meeting.
Junior Chris Bailey got the win for Whitman at No. 3 with a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Sheldon. Freshman Sam Sadeghi also got into the act with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Smoots at No. 4.
Fuchs at No. 5 (6-1, 6-2 over Dickey) and Follows at No. 6 (6-2, 6-1 over Higginbotham) completed the Whitman sweep.
Pacific Lutheran played the match without senior Michael Manser, who was at a graduate school interview, and sophomore Zach Ah Yat, out with an injury.
Whitman stayed at home Saturday to host Puget Sound before heading to western Oregon to play five more NWC matches from Sunday through Tuesday.
Pacific Lutheran is in Spokane on Saturday to play Whitworth at 11 a.m.