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April 10, 2012

Lutes Close 2012 Season on Home Courts

FINAL HOME STAND: Pacific Lutheran will conclude its 2012 tennis campaign this weekend with home matches against Pacific University and Willamette University. The matches have been moved from Sprinker Tennis Center to the PLU tennis courts. PLU currently ranks fifth in conference and will play their first match at 3:30 p.m. Friday against the second ranked Boxers of Pacific. PLU will then wrap up regular season play against Willamette at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

MATCHING UP AGAINST THE BOXERS: Pacific fired on all cylinders in the last meeting with the Lutes dropping only one doubles and one singles match on its way to a 7-2 victory against PLU last month. The Boxers are lead primarily through their impressive doubles play this season, posting a 19-8 overall team mark in conference doubles going into the final weekend. The young paring of freshman Giancarlo Battaglia and sophomore Troy Zuroske have tallied a 9-5 overall record as the No. 1 doubles contingent.

SEARCHING FOR SEASON SWEEP OF BEARCATS: The Lutes stunned a promising Willamette team in the last meeting, beating the Bearcats 6-3 in Salem, Ore. last month. PLU took two of the first three doubles matches and four of six singles contests to secure the away victory. Willamette has since been unable to find a rhythm in conference play as they find themselves sitting alone in sixth position in the NWC standings. Leading the Bearcats at No. 1 singles is junior Joshua Wong who holds a 6-5 overall mark and 5-4 in conference. Willamette has struggled in opening doubles this season going 10-23 overall and 10-17 in conference matches.

GEORGE FOX 9, PLU 0: Playing with only one of its top six players, Pacific Lutheran drew a blank against George Fox on Friday afternoon, losing a 9-0 Northwest Conference men's tennis match at the GFU campus court. George Fox, which is No. 12 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's NCAA Division III West Region rankings, improved to 8-7 overall and 7-3 in the conference, which assures the team of a spot in the Northwest Conference postseason tournament.  PLU is now 6-8 overall and 4-5 in the standings. Sam Angel and Neal Berg, who played No. 1 and No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, were the only Lutes playing on Friday who previously had played more than one match this year. Noel Oteng-Mensah and Zach Blakeslee had each played in one match, while Raymond DeLeon and Kyle McKee were playing for the first time this season.

LEWIS & CLARK 5, PLU 4: Lewis & Clark put an end to a nearly four-decade-long losing streak to Pacific Lutheran in men's tennis on Saturday, defeating the Lutes, 5-4, in Northwest Conference action. Prior to today's match, PLU had beaten L&C 47 consecutive times dating back to a 5-4 Pioneers victory in 1973. Included in the win streak was an 8-1 Pacific Lutheran victory on March 17 of this season. The streak ended as the teams split the six singles matches after the Pios had grabbed a 2-1 advantage in doubles. Two of the doubles matches were not particularly close. PLU's No. 2 team of Spencer Herron and Reed Gunstone beat Carter Gee-Taylor and Cole Pfeifer, 8-2, while L&C's No. 3 of Scott Monismith and Christian Stanbrook topped Raymond DeLeon and Kyle McKee, 8-4. The swing doubles match came at No. 1 and it was a close contest won by L&C's Olivier Groot and Quinn Roth-Carter over Taylor Dickey and Dan Cotton, 9-7. All of the singles matches were won in straight sets, with L&C's freshman sensation Groot topping Cotton, 6-1, 6-0, in the featured match. The other Pios in the win column were Pfeifer over DeLeon 6-2, 6-2 at No. 5, and Lucas Fodor over Zach Blakeslee 7-5, 6-3, at No. 6. Pacific Lutheran got singles wins from Taylor Dickey over Gee-Taylor 6-4, 6-1 at No. 2, Gunstone over Roth-Carter 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3, and Herron over Monismith 6-4, 6-1 at No. 4.

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