Chapman downs Whitman women's tennis team

The No. 15 school in the nation takes the 7-2 tennis victory from the Missionaries on Thursday afternoon.

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ORANGE, Calif. - Chapman University, sporting a No. 15 national ranking in NCAA Division III, handed the Whitman College women's tennis team a 7-2 setback Thursday afternoon in Orange, Calif.

After starting their season with matches against three athletic scholarship schools, the Panthers have butted heads against eight nationally ranked Division III teams.

Thursday's loss snapped Whitman's five-match winning streak.

The Missionaries, now 8-5 on the season, are ranked No. 10 in the West Region.

Chapman, an DIII independent, got the early jump by winning two of three matches in doubles, although Whitman toasted a big win at No. 1 doubles.

Senior Elise Otto and sophomore Alyssa Roberg posted an 8-5 victory at the top of the doubles ladder, beating Chapman seniors Liz Lewis and Kelley Fox.

"That was a great win for Elise and Alyssa," Whitman coach John Hein. "They just beat one of the top doubles teams in the region."

Regional rankings released March 17 have Fox-Lewis duo slotted into the No. 2 spot.

Otto and Roberg are ranked sixth regionally in doubles.

With sophomore Kate Kunkel-Patterson sidelined by injury for at least a day, first-year Missionary Leah Siegel joined junior Emily Rolston at No. 2 doubles, where they dropped an 8-2 decision to Melissa Boyer and Genna Ford.

Chapman's Danielle Kaiden and Kelley Klenenow got the win at No. 3 doubles with an 8-1 victory over junior Lizzy Schiller and first-year teammate Hannah Palkowitz.

Otto, ranked No. 25 in singles in the West Region, notched Whitman's other team point with a three-set triumph at No. 2 singles. She beat Fox, ranked No. 11 in singles by scores of 6-0, 0-6, 6-4.

"With the third set tied at four games apiece, Elise got a break and a hold to finish another nice win for Whitman," Hein said.

Lewis, ranked third in singles in the region, downed Roberg 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles.

Also falling in straight sets were Rolston at No. 3, Schiller at No. 4, and Palkowitz at No. 5.

Maggie Eismeier, another of Whitman's first-year players, lost in straight sets at No. 6 six singles.

"We could have played a little better, but Chapman is definitely a strong team," Hein said. "There's a reason they are ranked as high as they are.

"We were pleased that we got a few wins, and we think some of the other matches were closer than the scores might show."

Whitman continues its Spring Break trip today with a 2 p.m. match against No. 28 Redlands in Redlands, Calif.

The Missionaries complete their trip Saturday with an 11 a.m. match against No. 21 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in Claremont, Calif.

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