SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth women's tennis team has qualified to play in the 2014 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 Puget Sound in Saturday's first semifinal at 2:00 pm. Second-seeded Whitworth will play #3-seed Linfield in the second semifinal on Saturday at 5:00 pm. The winners will meet in the tournament championship game on Sunday at noon.
Whitman is also hosting the men's tournament, which will run on Friday and Saturday.
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 is 12-5 overall and 10-2 in the NWC. The Pirates split their final road trip of the regular season, winning 7-2 at Willamette and falling 6-3 at Linfield. Whitworth and Linfield knew going into that match and they would meet again in the conference semifinals, regardless of the outcome. The Pirates are the #2 seed ahead of the Wildcats based on the combined scores of the teams' two meetings this season – Whitworth won the first matchup 7-2 in Spokane in February.
Morgan McDivitt, Caylee Lamm and Bella Hoyos lead the Pirates in singles victories this season with 11 apiece. McDivitt is 11-1 in NWC matches (with five each at #4 and #5), while Hoyos is 9-1 against the NWC (all at #3). They have also paired up as a formidable doubles team, winning 7 of 12 matches overall this season.
The Opponents: Linfield is 12-3 overall and 9-3 in the NWC this season. The Wildcats lost twice to Whitman and split with Whitworth. Caroline Brigham is 10-5 as the #1 singles player, while Kaila Nip is 12-3 at #2. Brigham and Mackenzie Fraser are 8-7 as Linfield's #1 doubles team.
The last time Whitworth and Linfield met in the NWC tournament came in the finals of the 2011 event when the Wildcats defeated the Pirates.