Women’s Tennis Second in NWC Tourney

Sara Levering , Staff Writer

The Linfield Women’s Tennis team had the opportunity to host the Northwest Conference Tournament for the first time since 2012.  

On Saturday, Linfield faced off against George Fox. Linfield jumped out to a comfortable lead in doubles 3-0.

Ella Riddle, ‘18, and Basia Kopecka, ‘18, won easily against the top George Fox duo 8-1. Elsa Harris, ‘19, and Riley Clayeux, ‘20, had the closest match, winning 8-3. Marisa Doveri, ‘18, and Michelle Ly, ‘20, beat their opponents at three doubles 8-1.

In order for the match to be clinched, Linfield needed five wins.

Riddle at one singles, Harris at two singles and Doveri at three singles were up to the challenge. Going into singles action with momentum for the Wildcats, Harris won in straight sets 6-2, 6-1. Doveri ended up clinching the match for Linfield by defeating her opponent 6-3, 6-1. Linfield won 5-0.

Riddle’s match was unfinished, but she was ahead of her opponent in the first set.

On Sunday, Linfield faced off against Whitman for the NWC title. Riddle and Kopecka won decisively over the top Whitman duo 8-2. Harris and Clayeux were brought to a tiebreaker, taking the tiebreaker decisively 7-2.

Doveri and Ly fell 8-5 at third doubles, but Linfield had a 2-1 lead over the Blues going into singles.

In singles action, it was a tight fight all the way through. Riddle, Harris and Doveri started their singles matches.

Harris jumped out to a nice 5-0 lead in the first set, but lost momentum and fell 7-5, 6-1 for Whitman and Linfield tied up with two victories each. Doveri went three sets, but fell 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. Kopecka at four singles was defeated in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.

Riddle won a tight tiebreaker for the first set, lost the second set 3-6 and her opponent jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Riddle came back 7-5 to win the match.

Clayeux at five singles jumped out to a 3-0 lead over her opponent, but lost her way and was defeated in straight sets 7-5, 6-2. Clayeux’s defeat gave Whitman the match 5-3. Sarah Sweet, ‘20, at six singles did not finish her match, since Whitman had clinched at that point, but she was ahead of her opponent in the first set 5-3.

“I was really impressed with the way we came to play against George Fox. They are a competitive team, but we didn’t give them an opportunity. Thus, I felt like we were very ready for Whitman. Yes, Whitman is a higher level team top to bottom, but I felt like we were fully prepared,” said co-head coach Lisa Macy-Baker.

On the ending of the match, “Whitman has been in the conference tournament finals every year each of their current roster has been there. Thus, with the exception of their one freshman, they all have high intensity finals day experience. They’re experienced players proved invaluable at the right moments for them. As coaches, we look at the match collectively and know that it didn’t come down to one match. Each player will take that experience and use it next season!” said Macy-Baker.
On the match overall against Whitman, “My gut still hurts. It was a heartbreaker full of highs and lows. We stayed with the right formula at doubles. We just didn’t maintain the momentum in singles. Overall, the match showcased the two best teams in the NWC and it was a battle to the bitter end. It was a 5-4 match and about as close as a match can be. It was similar during the season at Whitman, the score was just flipped. We are very proud of this team. They had a tremendous season and fully deserved their regular season championship,” concluded Macy-Baker.