Missionaries' men dominate Pacific NW tennis championships

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WALLA WALLA - Today's finals of the USTA/ITA Pacific Northwest men's tennis championships in Salem, Ore., won't be an all-Whitman College affair, but it will be close.

Whitman, which has dominated the annual fall tournament for the past five years, continued its mastery on Sunday when seven of eight matches in singles and all four matches in doubles had Whitman players on the courts.

As singles play moved through the Round of 16 and quarterfinals, three Whitman players survived to fill all but one of the spots in Monday's semifinals.

In doubles play on Sunday, Whitman duos won three of their four quarterfinal matches and both semifinals.

Today's semis in singles get underway at 9 a.m. on the Willamette University courts. The singles and doubles finals will follow later in the day.

One semifinal pits two Whitman teammates against each other. Junior Conor Holton-Burke, the highest remaining seed in the singles bracket at No. 6, faces freshman Andrew La Cava, the No. 16 seed.

The other semifinal pairs Whitman senior Chris Bailey, the No. 9 seed, against Willamette junior Cody Ferguson, the No. 8 seed.

Holton-Burke and La Cava, seeded No. 5 as partners in the doubles bracket, had a big day as a Sunday twosome, beating Willamette's Ferguson and Josh Wong, the No. 3 seeds, in the quarterfinals by an 8-2 score.

Holton-Burke and La Cava then knocked off the No. 1 seeds, Linfield's Mark Magdaong and Brent Kingzett, 8-6 in the semifinals.

In other quarterfinal action in doubles, Bailey and sophomore teammate Sam Sadeghi posted an 8-5 victory over two more Whitman players, senior Quin Miller and sophomore Matt Tesmond.

Meanwhile, Whitman senior Etienne Moshevich and sophomore Jeff Tolman posted an 8-3 quarterfinal victory over Puget Sound's Michael Cutter and Alex Harrison.

That left the Whitman tandems of Bailey/Sadeghi and Moshevich/Tolman to play Sunday night for the final berth in Monday's doubles final.

Bailey and Sadeghi pulled off the upset, edging Moshevich and Tolman, the No. 2 seeds in the doubles bracket, by a 9-8 (8-6) count.

Whitman's only doubles loss in Sunday's quarterfinals was absorbed by freshmen Steve Roston and Will Huskey, who dropped an 8-5 decision to the top-seeded Magdaong and Kingzett.

In singles action early Sunday, Holton-Burke beat Linfield's Cody Levien 6-0, 6-4 and then bumped off Magdaong, the No. 1 seed in singles, in three sets, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.

La Cava got past seventh-seeded Moshevich 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 in his first Sunday match and then bested Whitworth's Daniel Redfern, the No. 13 seed, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Bailey staged a major upset in his first match, eliminating second-seeded Wong 7-6 (7-0), 2-6, 6-4. Bailey followed that up with another three-setter, beating fifth-seeded Scott Barnett of George Fox 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-3.

Tolman, the No. 3 seed in singles, got rolling with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Linfield's Zach Lyons but then hit a bump, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Ferguson in the quarterfinals.

Three other Whitman players lost in Sunday's Round of 16.

Roston fell in three sets (6-2, 1-6, 6-2) to Barnett. Miller lost 6-4, 6-2 to Redfern while Sadeghi lost 6-3, 6-1 to Ferguson.

The winners of Monday's singles and doubles titles will advance to the Small College National Championships next month in Mobile, Ala.

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