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March 6, 2012

Lutes Oregon Bound for Matches; AhYat Honored

LUTES SEEK OREGON VICTORIES: This weekend Pacific Lutheran will take its 1-1 conference record south of the border to match up against the Willamette University Bearcats and the Pacific University Boxers. The Lutes will first face the Bearcats at 2 p.m. Saturday in Salem, Ore. and against the Boxers at 10 a.m. Sunday in Forest Grove, Ore.

AHYAT EARNS NWC RECOGNITION: Senior Zack AhYat was recognized as Northwest Conference Student Athlete of the Week for his performances against Linfied and George Fox. Ahyat won both of his singles matches and split in doubles play.

WRESTLING WITH THE BEARCATS: Willamette is coming off of two consecutive conference victories earned last weekend against in-state rivals Lewis & Clark and Linfield, beating both teams 6-3. Each match required the Bearcats to rally in singles play after trailing in the opening doubles matches 2-1 to both opposing schools. Willamette is led in singles play by junior Joshua Wong who maintains a 2-1 record at No. 1 singles. At doubles, the Bearcats only winning contingent is found in freshman Devin Abney and sophomore Garrett Vincent, who maintain a 2-0 record mark at No. 2 doubles and a 2-1 overall record. Willamette finished second in Northwest Conference play and in the conference tournament to Whitman during the 2011 season.

TAMING THE RED HOT BOXERS: Pacific enters the weekend atop the Northwest Conference Standings boasting an impressive 4-0 record (4-1 overall). The Boxers are powered largely by its dominant singles play led by senior Spencer Hing at No. 2 singles with a perfect 4-0 record. Joining Hing are seniors Eric Furuya (No. 1 singles), Scott Kawamura (No. 6 singles), and freshman Brandon Schlack (No. 4 singles), all three of which possess 4-1 overall singles match marks. The Boxers have only dropped one singles match in conference this season so far. PLU will also need to manage Pacific's No. 1 doubles pairing of sophomore Troy Zuroske and freshman Giancarlo Battaglia, who have yet to drop a match to conference foes.

PLU 8, LINFIELD 1: Pacific Lutheran broke into the Northwest Conference men's tennis win column on Friday with closer-than-it-looked 8-1 victory over the Linfield Wildcats at the Sprinker Tennis Center. Holding a tenuous 2-1 lead after doubles play, PLU was perfect in singles play, though two of the matches went three sets and another was decided in a super tiebreaker. The visiting Wildcats picked up their lone point of the match at No. 1 doubles where Cody Levien and Zach Lyons earned a hard-fought 9-7 victory over Zack AhYat and Taylor Dickey. The other doubles contests were PLU runaways, however, Luke Olson and Dan Cotton beating Micah Roose and Lukas Kleinman by an 8-3 score at No. 2, and Neal Berg and Spencer Herron dumping Ben Brewer and Joel Trousdale 8-2 at No. 3.In singles play, the Lutes had a pair of easy straight-set bookend wins at No. 1 and No. 6. In the featured match, AhYat rolled past Levien, 6-1, 6-0, and at No. 6 it was Reed Gunstone handling Trousdale, 6-1, 6-3.The four singles matches in between all offered some amount of drama. At No. 2, Cotton and Lyons went three sets before the PLU senior came out a 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 winner. At No. 4, Olson and Kleinman also went three sets with the Pacific Lutheran freshman prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.Dickey needed a tiebreaker in the second set before beating Roos by a 6-2, 7-6 (5) score at No. 3 singles, and Sam Angel garnered a super tiebreaker victory over Brewer, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6) at No. 5.

GEORGE FOX 5, PLU 4: Needing two singles victories to defeat visiting George Fox in Northwest Conference men's tennis action on Saturday, Pacific Lutheran was unable to close the deal as the Bruins took a 5-4 victory at Sprinker Tennis Center.The Lutes (2-3 overall, 1-3 NWC) swept all three doubles points to take the early lead. When Zack AhYat disposed of Preston Mann by a 7-5, 6-3 score at No. 1 singles, the Lutes were on the verge of defeating the Bruins. Instead, it was George Fox (4-4, 3-1) that ended up with the win as they cleaned up in the No. 2 through No. 6 singles matches. Doubles went PLU's way, though two of the matches were particularly close. AhYat and Taylor Dickey made quick work of Shawn Aldrich and David Munoz in the featured doubles match, winning 8-2. At No. 2 doubles, Luke Olson and Dan Cotton prevailed over PeterBrown and Justin McClain, 9-7. The No. 3 doubles match went to a tiebreaker before Spencer Herron and Neal Berg pulled out an exciting 9-8 (8-6) victory. That brought it down to singles play. After AhYat improved his record to 3-2 with his win over Mann, the Bruins pulled out a pair of three-set victories at No. 2 and No. 3 singles to turn the tide. Aldrich got the better of Cotton, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, and McClain held off Dickey, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. The remainder of the singles matches went to the Bruins in straight sets, with Milton, Munoz and Brown coming out on top of Olson, Reed Gunstone and Sam Angel, respectively.