Women’s tennis places third at NWC tournament

Kaelia Neal, Freelance Writer

The women’s tennis team knew it was heading in the Northwest Conference tournament as the underdogs but team members said they still had a shot at making it to the finals.

Head coach Lisa Macy-Baker said the Wildcats, seeded No. 3, were set to play No. 2 Lewis & Clark at the tournament.

The Wildcats lost to the Pioneers twice earlier this season.

Macy-Baker said the team knew it was going into the tournament as the underdogs but “had a shot at Lewis & Clark.”

The season’s second match against the Pioneers was closer than the first. Linfield lost 8-1 in the first match and 5-4 in the second.

That improvement gave confidence to the team at the conference tournament.

“We knew it’d be a big challenge and we would have to play our absolute best,” Macy-Baker said.

Freshman Ella Riddle had expectations for her team at the tournament.

Riddle said she wanted to win her doubles match.

“It would be cool as an underdog to beat Lewis & Clark. It would be really great if we could win and get to the finals,” Riddle said.

Riddle, who is undefeated in singles for the Wildcats, won her singles match 6-3, 6-1 and doubles match 8-4 with her partner, Mackenzie Fraser, sophomore.

The pair wanted to beat Lewis & Clark’s doubles team and they did, Fraser said. “We grew as a doubles team and as individual players.”

The women’s tennis team lost to Lewis & Clark 5-2 Friday, April 24 at the NWC tournament. Lewis & Clark advanced to the championship match where they lost to Whitman 5-4.

“Even though we had some tough losses, we still fought for it. We played with heart and never gave up,” Fraser said.

Riddle is undefeated in conference in singles and is in contention to get an invitation to the national tournament.

She will find out May 6 if she is invited to the tournament. Macy-Baker said her invitation is “up to a rankings committee.”

“All-in-all we feel very good about the season, the way we competed and the direction the program is going,” Macy-Baker said.

She said the team is more talented and deeper than the previous year. The team is young, which means there is room for improvement.

“We continue to improve and we are a better team than we were last year,” she said.

Fraser said the team came together to improve and this was a year to build confidence.

Macy-Baker is looking forward to the upcoming year for a breakthrough season.

“Our goal is to win conference and I think we’ll have a shot at it again,” she said.

She said she and the other coaches are honored to coach the team and are “proud of them as individuals on and off the court.”