- One NWC Player of the Year (Spencer Watanabe, 2017-18)
- Six Northwest Conference Tournament Appearances (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
- Three All-Americans
- 33 All-NWC Athletes
A Winning Tradition
BEAVERTON, Ore. – Highlighted by a No. 1 singles match in which Justin McClain handed Willamette University’s Joshua Wong his first league loss of the season, the George Fox University Bruins nailed down second place in the Northwest Conference with a 7-2 win over the Bearcats in men’s tennis action Sunday evening here at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.
The Bruins put the pressure on the Bearcats early by taking all three doubles matches. McClain and Shawn Aldrich scored an 8-4 win over Wong and Sam Wexman at No. 1, Chris Lilley and Peter Brown beat Will Cooper and Devin Abney 8-5 at No. 2, and Preston Mann and Drew Milton dropped Gunnar Lee and Colin Yamaguchi 8-3 at No. 3.
Lilley closed out Wexman 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles to give the Bruins a 4-0 lead before Abney defeated Mann 6-3, 6-4 at No. 4 for the Bearcats’ first win of the match. Brown secured the Bruins’ team victory, however, with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Lee at No. 6, just before Jack Schreiber completed a 6-2, 6-3 win over Milton at No. 5 that made it 4-2.
The final matches went three sets. Aldrich held off Cooper at No. 3 by a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 score, leaving McClain to duel with Wong at No. 1. Entering the match, Wong had a 13-1 overall record, a 10-0 record against NWC opponents, and was ranked No. 9 in singles in the NCAA Division III West Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. McClain dropped the first set 6-3 before squeezing out a 7-6 (7-5) win in the second to even the match. With the team results already settled, the two played a third-set tiebreaker, and McClain pulled off the upset with a 10-5 victory.
George Fox extended its single season record for overall wins and conference wins by improving to 13-4 in all matches and 11-1 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 7-10 overall and 7-5 in the conference. The Bearcats finished with the fourth-best record in the NWC, but because of a complex point system being used to determine playoff teams, Pacific University, which finished at 5-10 and seventh in the conference at 4-8, will be the fourth team in the tournament.
NEXT: The NWC Men’s Tournament is set for Saturday-Sunday, Apr. 20-21, at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. Top-seeded Whitman (15-6, NWC 12-0) will play No. 4 seed Pacific at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, while No. 2 seed George Fox will play No. 3 seed Pacific Lutheran University (11-7, NWC 9-3) at 5:00 p.m. The tournament finals will start at 12:00 noon on Sunday.