SPOKANE, Wash. – The second season begins this weekend for the Whitworth women's tennis team. The Pirates will open the 2012 Northwest Conference tournament on Saturday against Whitman in McMinnville, Oregon at 2:00 p.m. Linfield, the regular season champions of the NWC this season, is the host school and will take on Willamette in Saturday's first match at 10:00 a.m.
Whitworth is the #3 seed after finishing third in the final league standings with a 9-3 record. Whitman is the #2 seed, while Linfield is #1 and Willamette is #4. Linfield will provide live coverage of the tennis tournament on its official conference tournament website.
Saturday's winners will meet on Sunday in the championship match that will determine the NWC's bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.
"We feel like anything can happen this weekend," said Whitworth head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff. "We have steadily improved since the Florida trip in both singles and doubles, and crazy things always seem to happen at conference tourney so we'll show up playing our best tennis of the season and see what happens."
The Pirates head into Saturday's match coming off of a hard-fought 6-3 loss to NAIA #14 Lewis-Clark State in the final regular season match of 2012 on Wednesday night. Alli Marshall and Erica Bosman earned an impressive 8-6 win at #1 doubles. Jessi Steele won her #3 singles match, as did Siri Carlson at #5.
Whitworth and Whitman met only one time this season. The Missionaries earned a 6-3 victory on March 31st in Spokane after sweeping all three doubles matches. The teams then split the six singles contests.
Whitworth lost twice to Linfield (12-0) this season – falling 7-2 in McMinnville on March 17th and 6-3 in Spokane on April 7th. The Pirates have defeated Willamette (5-7) twice this year, winning 6-2 in Salem, Oregon on March 16th and 7-2 in Spokane on April 6th.
Marshall and Bosman have a 13-6 record in doubles matches this season, 8-4 in NWC contests. Steele has been very impressive in singles play with an 18-1 record. She is 12-0 against NWC opponents.