Whit men clinch share of NWC title

The Missionaries have the top seed in the NWC playoffs next weekend.

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Up at the net with teammate Conor Holton-Burke (left), Whitman's Andrew La Cava zeroes in on a return volley during their doubles match against UPS. The Missionaries won all three of their doubles matches Saturday, ensuring enough points for the Northwest Conference title.

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Whitman's Conor Holton-Burke rips a forehand shot cross-court during a doubles match with teammate Andrew La Cava against UPS Saturday afternoon.

WALLA WALLA - The Whitman College men's tennis team clinched a share of its fourth consecutive Northwest Conference championship and nailed down the top seed in next week's playoffs by rolling over Puget Sound 9-0 Saturday afternoon on the outdoor courts.

Whitman, now 11-0 in the NWC and 13-6 on the season, wraps up its regular season slate on Sunday with a 10 a.m. match against Pacific Lutheran.

By beating the Lutes tomorrow, Whitman can claim sole possession of this year's NWC crown and put the fnishing touches on its fifth straight undefeated conference regular season.

With today's loss, Puget Sound saw its season end with records of 2-10 in conference and 3-13 overall.

Today's victory stretched Whitman's regular season winning streak to 77 matches.

Weather permitting, Sunday's match with Pacific Lutheran will take place on Whitman's outdoor courts. Bratton Tennis Center is the standby in case of rain.

Whitman jumped to a 3-0 lead over Puget Sound with a sweep in doubles, winning all three matches by 8-4 scores.

Junior Conor Holton-Burke and freshman Andrew La Cava got the win at No. 1 doubles. Sophomore Jeff Tolman and Matt Tesmond were winners at No. 2 doubles, and it was senior Chris Bailey and sophomore Sam Sadeghi teaming for triumph at No. 3.

"We mixed it up a little bit at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, and it was good to see the guys respond by playing well," Whitman coach Jeff Northam said.

"This was an important match because it clinched the top seed in the playoffs and moves us one step closer to defending our conference title."

Whitman completed its shutout of Puget Sound with straight-set wins in the six singles matches.

Holton-Burke beat Michael Cutter 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, and La Cava cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Chas Stewart at No. 2.

Tolman won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3, beating George Murphy, while junior Adriel Borshansky scooted past Nick Kelley 6-2, 6-0 at No. 4.

Sadeghi played at No. 5, downing Alex Harrison 6-2, 6-2.

The day's most competitive match came at No. 6 singles, where Bailey overcame Ben Miller 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Whitman 9, University of Puget Sound 0

SINGLES - Conor Holton-Burke, Whit, def. Michael Cutter, UPS, 6-3, 6-2. Andrew La Cava, Whit, def. Chas Stewart, UPS, 6-0, 6-2. Jeff Tolman, Whit, def. George Murphy, UPS, 6-1, 6-1. Adriel Borshansky, Whit, def. Nick Kelley, UPS, 6-2, 6-0. Sam Sadeghi, Whit, def. Alex Harrison, UPS, 6-2, 6-2. Chris Bailey, Whit, def. Ben Miller, UPS, 6-3, 7-6.

DOUBLES - Holton-Burke/La Cava, Whit, def. Murphy/Brent Hoshiba 8-4. Tolman/Tesmond, Whit, def. Stewart/Kelley 8-4. Sadeghi/Bailey, Whit, def. Cutter/Harrison 8-4.

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