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February 23, 2012

Women Netters Open Home Season This Weekend

HOME, SWEET HOME: Whitman and Whitworth will be in town this weekend as Pacific Lutheran opens the home portion of its 2012 women's tennis season. The Lutes will play their matches at Sprinker Recreation Center on C Street south of the PLU campus. PLU faces Whitman at 3:30 p.m. Friday and Whitworth at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

CONFERENCE SLATE BEGINS: In addition to being the home openers for PLU, the two weekend matches also start the Northwest Conference season for the Lutes. Last week's spring season opener at Puget Sound was a non-conference contest.

NEW HOME FOR NETTERS: For the first time in program history, the men's and women's tennis programs will feature all of their home matches off campus at nearby Sprinker Recreation Center. The indoor facilities will allow a consistent location for both programs to host home matches regardless of weather conditions.

ABOUT WHITMAN: The Missionaries enter Friday's match with a 2-2 overall record, including a 1-1 mark in the conference after a loss to Linfield and win over Willamette. Whitman has finished third in the nine-team conference standings each of the past three seasons, and last year it reached the semifinal round of the postseason tournament before losing to eventual runner-up Linfield.

ABOUT WHITWORTH: The Pirates are 1-1 overall this year with both matches coming against non-conference opponents. Whitworth has been the dominant team in Northwest Conference women's tennis in recent seasons with three consecutive regular season NWC team titles. During that run, the Pirates have compiled a 43-1 record in conference duals, including 12-0 last year as part of a 17-3 overall record. However, last year's Whitworth team was upended in the NWC postseason tournament by Linfield, 5-3, and did not advance to the NCAA postseason playoffs.

ITA WEST REGION POLL: According to the preseason Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll posted on Nov. 1, a handful of Whitman and Whitworth players are regionally ranked. From Whitman, Alyssa Roberg is No. 3, Morgan Lawless No. 12 and Courtney Lawless No. 19 in singles, while the doubles team of Roberg and Courtney Lawless are No. 2. From Whitworth, Erica Bosman is No. 11 in singles, while Bosman and Alli Marshall are No. 10 in doubles. No PLU single players or doubles teams are regionally ranked. The next ITA ranking is scheduled for a March 1 release.

LUTES 0-2 ENTERING WEEKEND: Pacific Lutheran is 0-2 in duals this season, including a 7-0 loss to NCAA Division I Seattle U. way back on Oct. 5, and an 8-1 defeat to Puget Sound back on Feb. 15. PLU has fallen on hard times recently, including a 0-12 conference record last season. Pacific Lutheran is looking to end a 13-match winless streak that dates back to March 4, 2011, when the Lutes hammered College of Idaho, 9-0.

PLU LOSES SPRING SEASON OPENER: Cora Wigen won a super-tiebreaker at No. 2 singles but that was Pacific Lutheran's only victory as the Lutes dropped an 8-1 non-conference decision to Puget Sound on Feb. 15 at the UPS Tennis Pavilion. PLU gave the Loggers a tough go in the first two doubles matches, with the No. 1 duo of Leah Newell and Tina Aarsvold and the No. 2 team of Cora Wigan and Valery Jorgensen both taking their opponents to 8-5 scores. In singles play, Wigen defeated Maddie Thiesse, 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (11-9), but the Lutes lost the other five matches in straight sets.

- PLU -