Whitman women net No. 3 seed to NWC tennis playoffs

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TACOMA - A short-handed Whitman College women's tennis team scrambled past Pacific Lutheran 7-2 here Friday afternoon, clinching the No. 3 seed in next week's Northwest Conference playoffs.

Beating the Lutes for the second time this season, Whitman improved to 8-3 in the NWC and 10-8 on the season.

Pacific Lutheran remained winless in conference at 0-11 (2-14 on the season).

With one of his regulars (sophomore Alyssa Roberg) getting the day off, Whitman coach John Hein juggled his combinations in the opening slate of doubles matches.

That didn't stop the Missionaries from sweeping all three bouts in doubles. Senior Elise Otto and junior Emily Rolston led the way with an 8-4 victory over Leah Newell and Tina Aarsvold in the No. 1 slot.

Junior Lizzy Schiller and first-year teammate Hannah Palkowitz notched an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles, beating Hailey Rile and Amanda Peterson.

Junior Kate Kunkel-Patterson and first-year Missionary Olivia Bates got the team point at No. 3 doubles with an 8-4 win over Caitlin Hoerr and Saiyare Refaei.

In singles, Rolston was the first to finish and stretched Whitman's lead in the team scoring to 4-0 with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Hoerr in the No. 3 match.

The Lutes countered with the next two points to trim their deficit to 4-2.

At No. 5 singles, Deanna Ellmer got past Maggie Eismeier, another of Whitman's first-year players, by a 6-2, 7-5 count.

Schiller, playing at No. 4 singles, battled a stomach virus and lost 3-6, 6-0, 6-1 to Refaei.

Soon thereafter, first-year Missionary Hadley Scherer tallied the clinching fifth team point with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Rile at No. 6 singles.

The last matches to finish came at No. 1, where Otto won 6-3, 6-3, and at No. 2, where Kunkel-Patterson rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 10-5 triumph.

Whitman concluded its regular season on Saturday with an 11 a.m. match against Puget Sound in Tacoma.

Whitman 7, PLU 2

SINGLES - Elise Otto, Whit, def. Leah Newell, PLU, 6-3, 6-3; Kate Kunkel-Patterson, Whit, def. Tina Aarsvold, PLU, 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5); Emily Rolston, Whit, def. Caitlyn Hoerr, PLU, 6-1, 6-1; Saiyare Refaei, PLU, def. Lizzy Schiller, Whit, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1; Deanna Ellmer, PLU, def. Maggie Eismeier, Whit, 6-2, 7-5; Hadley Scherer, Whit, def. Hailey Rile, PLU, 6-3, 7-6.

DOUBLES - Elise Otto/Emily Rolston, Whit, def. Leah Newell/Tina Aarsvold, PLU, 8-4; Hannah Palkowitz/Lizzy Schiller, Whit, def. Hailey Rile/Amanda Peterson, PLU, 8-2; Kate Kunkel-Patterson/Olivia Bates, Whit, def. Caitlyn Hoerr/Saiyare Refaei, PLU, 8-4.

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