Lutes Head Across Town For Rivalry Rematch
THIS WEEK: For the second time in quick succession, the Pacific Lutheran University men's tennis team will square off with the University of Puget Sound. The Lutes will look to extend their 39-match winning streak against the Loggers. After a redemption victory over Linfield College this past weekend, the Lutes (4-7 overall, 3-6 conference) are starting to find their winning form. In the past six matches, the Lutes have split with three wins and three losses, but have found key victories over UPS, Linfield, and Lewis & Clark to put the team in a tie for sixth in the Northwest Conference standings. PLU has three conference matches left on the season, and the possibility of making it back to the NWC playoffs is still attainable, yet will be difficult. During the final week of the conference season, the Lutes travel to face Whitworth University and defending champion Whitman College, teams that already have 7-2 wins over the Lutes this season.
CHOPPING DOWN THE OPPOSITION: For the second time in less than two weeks, the Lutes will go head-to-head with crosstown rivals, the UPS Loggers. In the first match between the schools, PLU came out of the gate fast, taking two of three doubles matches before rolling over the Loggers in all but one singles match to take the 7-2 victory. Taylor Dickey and Scott Sheldon dominated in the No. 1 doubles slot, winning 8-0 to start the Lutes off right, before each won their individual matches as well. The win made it 39 straight victories, dating back to 1992, for the Lutes over their Tacoma adversary. This success will hopefully be extended come Saturday, when the teams meet at the UPS tennis courts at 4 p.m.
HEADING FOR WARMER WEATHER AND WINNING WAYS: With such dreary weather in the Pacific Northwest, the PLU team will welcome it's spring break trip to sunny Southern California. Starting April 4 in a match with Cal Tech, the Lutes will take on Chapman, Whittier, and Claremont Mudd-Scripps before returning home to finish NWC play. In the 2010 trip to SoCal, the Lutes went 1-4, but were able to turn fortunes around and finish strong before the end of the season. The California opponents will give the Lutes an opportunity to pick up some important non-conference regional victories to prepare for the final push towards the NWC playoffs. It should be noted, however, that Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is ranked fourth in the nation in Division III men's tennis, so the Lutes' goal will be to keep it as close as possible.
PLU 5, LINFIELD 4: Getting revenge from a season-opening road loss on Saturday, Pacific Lutheran grabbed a 5-4 Northwest Conference men's tennis win over the visiting Linfield Wildcats at the UPS Tennis Pavilion. The results left both teams with the same records - 4-7 overall and 3-6 in the conference. Frosh Reed Gunstone provided the Lutes with the match-deciding point at No. 5 singles, rallying from a set down and a 3-0 third-set deficit to defeat Tim Wagar, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. That split the singles matches at three wins apiece, and with the Lutes taking two of three doubles, they got revenge for a 7-2 loss back on Feb. 18 in Oregon. Coach Craig Hamilton credited the No. 2 doubles team of Michael Parretta and Daniel Cotton with "their best match of the year" as they took a 9-7 victory from Wagar and Cody Levien. Scott Sheldon and Taylor Dickey, playing No. 1 doubles, rallied from a break down to defeat Linfield's standout duo of Mark Magdaong and Brent Kingzett, 8-6. Joining Gunstone with singles wins were Dickey, who beat Tal DeWitt 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2, and Zack AhYat, who tripped up Kingzett at No. 3, 6-4, 6-3.
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By: Alex Schisel, Student Assistant