Otto sparks Whit women's tennis win over Pacific

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WALLA WALLA - Senior Elise Otto made her final home match a memorable one, sharing in a big victory at No. 1 doubles and winning a three-set marathon at No. 2 singles to spark Whitman College to 7-2 Northwest Conference triumph over Pacific Saturday in the Bratton Tennis Center.

Whitman, now 7-2 in the NWC and 9-7 overall, turned back a strong effort by the Boxers, who came up short in three of the four matches in singles that went to three sets.

Pacific, which lost 5-4 to the Missionaries earlier this season in Forest Grove, Ore., slipped to 2-7 in conference and 2-10 on the season.

Otto teamed with sophomore Alyssa Roberg to set the tone in Whitman's favor with a big 8-3 victory over Cat Goya and Megan Yoshimoto at No. 1 doubles.

Goya and Yoshimoto used an early service break to take a 3-0 lead, but Otto and Roberg came storming back to take eight straight games. The Missionary duo have a No. 6 doubles ranking in the West Region of NCAA Division III.

Whitman notched its other doubles point at No. 2, where junior Emily Rolston and sophomore Kate Kunkel-Patterson led from the start in posting an 8-4 win. Kunkel-Patterson served out at the match at love.

Pacific salvaged a team point at No. 3 doubles, where Traci Mo and Kelsey Lack were 8-5 winners. The Boxer pair jumped in front 5-2 before Whitman junior Lizzy Schiller and first-year teammate Hannah Palkowitz rallied for a 5-5 deadlock.

Mo and Lack regained command, winning the next three games to polish off the win.

Four matches then took the courts in singles, and Rolston was the first to finish at No. 4, bouncing back from 6-1 setback in the first set to win the next two 6-2, 6-2.

Roberg stretched Whitman's lead in the team scoring to 4-1 with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over Goya at No. 1 singles. Pacific's Rachel Mizuno trimmed the Boxer deficit to 4-2 by outlasting Kunkel-Patterson 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 at No. 3.

As Otto and Yoshimoto continued to slug their way through a three-set battle at No. 2 singles, the final matches started at No. 5 and No. 6.

Palkowitz made quick work of her opponent, scoring the clinching fifth team point with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 5.

At No. 6, Schiller surrendered her first set 6-0 to Stephanie Villegas before catching fire to win the second set 7-6 (7-4) and the third set in a 10-6 tie-breaker.

Schiller's win extended Whitman's lead to 6-2 as Otto-Yoshimoto duel played into a third set. Otto won the first set 6-4 and led 6-5 in the second before Yoshimoto rallied for a 7-6 (8-6) victory.

Otto, who capped each of her first three seasons with All-NWC First-Team honors, spotted Yoshimoto a 2-1 lead in the third set before winning five of the last six games.

Whitman travels to Spokane today for a noon match against Whitworth.

Whitman 7, Pacific 2

SINGLES - Alyssa Robert, Whit., def Cat Goya, Pac., 6-3, 6-3. Elise Otto, Whit., def Megan Yoshimoto, Pac., 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3. Rachel Mizuno, Pac., def. Ka Kunkel-Patterson, Whit., 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. Emily Rolston, Whit., def Kelsey Lack, Pac., 1-6, 6-2, 6-2. Lizzy Schiller, Whit., def. Stephanie Velligas, Pac., 0-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (10-5). Hannah Palkowitz, Whit., def. Trac Mo, Pac., 6-2, 6-1.

DOUBLES - Otto-Roberg, Whit., def Goya-Yoshimoto, Pac., 8-3. (Kunkel-Patterson)- Rolston, Whit., def Mizuno-Velligas, Pac., 8-4. Mo-Lack Pac., def Palkowitz-Schiller 8-5.

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