SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth women's tennis team has qualified to play in the 2013 Northwest Conference tournament this weekend in Walla Walla, Washington. The tournament, hosted by Whitman College, will determine the NWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Click here for Whitman's tournament website, which will include live updates.
Tournament Format: As the regular season champion, Whitman is the #1 seed and the host for the four-team event. The Missionaries will take on 4th-seeded Linfield College in Friday's first semifinal at 10:00 am. Third-seeded Whitworth will play #2-seed Lewis & Clark College in the second semifinal on Friday at 2:00 pm. The winners will meet in the tournament championship game on Saturday at 9:00 am.
Whitman is also hosting the men's tournament.
Tournament History: Whitworth has not missed a Northwest Conference tournament since the league went to a team-based event in 2001. In 2011 the tournament changed to a four-team event hosted by the regular season champion. Whitworth won the tournament in 2009 and 2010.
The Pirates: Whitworth comes into the weekend having tied for third place in the NWC with Linfield and Puget Sound. The Bucs received the #3 seed based on conference tie-breaking procedures.
Whitworth is 8-8 overall and 7-5 in the NWC (pending a final non-conference matchup with NAIA power Lewis-Clark State on Wednesday afternoon). The Pirates won four of their final five conference matches to surge into the NWC tournament. They won two of those last weekend – a 7-2 win over Puget Sound that keyed the tiebreaker in the Pirates' favor, and a 9-0 win over Pacific Lutheran that avenged an earlier 5-4 loss to the Lutes.
Morgan McDivitt and Megan Wingfield lead the Pirates in singles victories this season with ten apiece. McDivitt is 9-1 in NWC matches (mostly at #5), while Wingfield is 9-3 against the NWC (all at #4). They have also pair up as a formidable doubles team, winning 9 of 15 matches overall this season and 8 of 11 against the NWC.
Saryn Mooney has played #1 singles all year for the Bucs and is 8-7 overall, 8-4 against the conference. Freshman KC McConnell is unbeaten in singles (7-0) since joining the team after the conclusion of basketball season.
The Opponents: Lewis & Clark is 15-4 overall and 11-1 in the NWC this season. The Pioneers head into the NWC tournament on a ten-match winning streak against conference opponents. L&C is making its first NWC tournament appearance since 2010. Isabelle Borris, Olivia Cornell and Gillian Lowe are a combined 40-8 in singles play this season. Borris is a senior, Cornell is a freshman and Lowe is a sophomore.
Whitworth and Lewis & Clark have not met since February 15th when the Pioneers earned an 8-1 victory over the Pirates in Spokane.