Recap | Box Score
WHITMAN 5, GEORGE FOX 0: Bruins’ Stunning Run to Finals Stopped by Missionaries
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – After reaching the Northwest Conference Men’s Tennis Tournament finals with a 5-4 win over Pacific University in a marathon match Saturday, George Fox University was unable to further its amazing run as the Whitman College Missionaries halted the Bruins 5-0 in the NWC finals Sunday here at the Whitman outdoor courts.
George Fox, the No. 12 team in the NCAA Division III West Region which set a new single-season record for wins Saturday against Pacific, is now 11-8. Whitman, which is ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the West Region, improved to 21-4 and earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament.
Sam Sadeghi and James Rivers collected the first Whitman point of the day at No. 3 doubles, where they won the first seven games before finishing an 8-1 victory over the Bruins’ Drew Milton and David Munoz. Justin McClain and Peter Brown held an early 4-3 lead for George Fox at No. 2 doubles, but Jeff Tolman and Andrew La Cava clicked off five consecutive games to win 8-4.
In the No. 1 doubles, Conor Holton-Burke and Matt Tesmond seized a 4-1 Whitman advantage before Preston Mann and Shawn Aldrich rallied to within 7-5. Holton-Burke served out the next game, however, to stake Whitman to a 3-0 lead.
In singles, Tolman was the first to finish, posting a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Aldrich in the No. 2 slot. Holton-Burke then brought the proceedings to a halt with a 6-2, 6-0 win over McClain at No. 3 singles.
With the team result decided, in-progress matches were left unfinished at No. 4, where Rivers held a 6-1, 5-2 lead over Milton, and at No. 1, where La Cava was leading Mann 6-4, 3-2. Sadeghi and Munoz were just starting their match at No. 5 singles as Holton-Burke clinched the home team's win, and Adriel Borshansky was slated to play Brown at No. 6, but that match did not get a chance to start.
“I was proud of the way the guys came out and battled today, especially coming off that epic semifinal that went into the early evening on Saturday,” said Bruins coach Neal Ninteman. “We had some opportunities early in the doubles matches to put some pressure on them, but we couldn’t quite hold on. In a tennis match at this level, it’s often a matter of just a few shots, and that was the case today.
"Of course, it’s a bit disappointing to have come so close, but there’s no head-hanging here. This team showed what they are made of this weekend. We’re proud of what we accomplished in putting ourselves in this position, and we’re already talking about being right back in this spot playing for the title again next year. With no graduating seniors and some solid recruits coming in … we’ll be back!”
NEXT: George Fox will send several players to compete in next weekend’s prestigious 111th Ojai Tennis Tournament in Ojai, Calif., Friday-Sunday, Apr. 27-29. While in southern California, the Bruins will also close out their season with matches on Monday, Apr. 30, at Biola University and Hope International University, with matches at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. respectively ... Whitman now waits to learn where it will play its first-round match in the NCAA Tournament, which starts with regional tournaments on May 11-13. The National Championship finals are set for May 22-27 in Cary, N.C.