WALLA WALLA - A handful of Whitman College tennis players are in Mobile, Ala., this week for the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, which get underway with play-in matches today.
On the women's side, junior Alyssa Roberg and first-year teammate Courtney Lawless are representing the Pacific Northwest region. Sophomore Andrew La Cava, senior Conor Holton-Burke and junior Matt Tesmond are doing the same on the mens' side.
Roberg advanced after winning a regional singles title and teaming with Lawless to capture the doubles championship.
La Cava earned his spot at nationals by winning the men's singles title for a second straight year.
Holton-Burke and Tesmond advanced to nationals by winning the regional doubles crown.
For the NCAA Division III portion of the national tournament, which is taking place at Mobile's Copeland-Cox Tennis Center, seven of the eight slots in the singles and doubles brackets are already set.
Play-in matches between champions of the Pacific Northwest and Southwest regions take place Wednesday with winners advancing to Thursday's first round.
In the women's competition, Roberg faces Mackenzie Knopp, a first-year player from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
In doubles, Roberg and Lawless will battle Knopp and her first-year teammate, Stephanie Williamson.
On the men's side, La Cava is matched against Trinity senior Max Frey. In doubles, Holton-Burke and Tesmond will play Frey and his teammate, junior Eric DelaFuente.
A year ago at nationals, Roberg and Elise Otto (now graduated) won their play-in match but then dropped their first-round match to the defending national doubles champions.
La Cava lost his play-in singles match last year in three close sets. He and Holton-Burke also fell in three tight sets in the doubles play-in match.