SPOKANE, Wash. – Led by a pair of returning First Team All-Northwest Conference honorees, the Whitworth women's tennis team carries high hopes into the 2015 season under first-year head coach Rachel Aldridge.
The Pirates will officially open the spring schedule on Sunday afternoon at NAIA power Lewis-Clark State College at 2:00 pm.
Aldridge is in her first season leading Whitworth. Previously a Pirate assistant coach, she took over for Jo Ann Wagstaff who retired after 30 years guiding the Pirate netters. Aldridge is a former Northwest Conference Player of the Year (2011) for Whitworth.
She has plenty to work with in her first season. Saryn Mooney and Taylor Peña both earned First Team All-NWC honors in 2014. Mooney, who earned First Team All-NWC for the second year in a row, went 8-10 overall in singles, 7-5 against NWC opponents. Peña posted a 9-9 overall mark, 9-3 against league foes. They split time almost equally between #1 and #2 on the Whitworth singles ladder.
Bella Hoyos had a breakthrough freshman campaign in 2014, earning Second Team All-NWC recognition while finishing 12-4 in singles play, all at #3 on the ladder. She went 9-1 in conference matches. Morgan McDivitt nearly matched Hoyos in win count, finishing 11-4 in singles play. She split her team nearly evenly between #4 and #5 on the ladder. She split that time with Annabelle Burns, who went 10-8 as a freshman last spring. Caylee Lamm played #6 for Whitworth last season and finished 11-5 overall.
Mooney and McDivitt are the only seniors on the Pirate roster this spring.
Aldridge will adjust her doubles combinations as necessary, but Mooney and Peña formed a strong pairing at the top of the ladder last season. They went 11-6 overall and 8-4 in NWC. Included in that win total was a season-opening victory over the #1 pair from LCSC.
Whitworth finished the season 12-6 overall and 10-2 against NWC opponents last season.
The top four teams will make the 2015 Northwest Conference tournament. The top seed will host the event on the weekend of April 25-26. The winner of the NWC tournament will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
After Sunday's match at LCSC, Whitworth will host defending NWC Champion Whitman of February 14th at 10:00 am in both the conference opener and the home opener for the Pirates.