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February 13, 2010

Close Matches Both: Lutes Split With Whits

Whitman 5, PLU 4
PLU 5, Whitworth 4

In a pair of close Northwest Conference men's tennis matches played Saturday at the UPS indoor courts, Pacific Lutheran opened its 2010 season by losing to Whitman, 5-4, before defeating Whitworth by the same score.

Playing against the defending conference champion Whitman Missionaries to open the season, the Lutes put on a strong showing before finally succumbing. PLU opened the match by picking up a pair of doubles points, one of the wins coming in dramatic fashion.

Joel Trudel and Justin Peterson, who won the fall regional doubles title by beating Matt Solomon and Jeff Tolman, did it again to the Whitman duo, this time by an 8-6 score. Whitman got a point at No. 2 doubles where Quin Miller and Christoph Fuchs dispatched Zack AhYat and Taylor Dickey, 8-2.

On the far court, Whitman's No. 3 team of Conor Holton-Burke and Jasper Follows appeared on their way to an easy win over Michael Manser and Scott Sheldon, taking the first five games. The PLU duo would have none of it, however, rallying to take a 9-8 (7-0) victory.

Whitman, needing to win four of the singles matches to defeat the Lutes, did exactly that. The Lutes got wins from Trudel over the nationally-ranked Solomon at No. 1, 6-0, 6-2, and from Peterson over Toman at No. 3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

The Missionaries won three of their four singles victories in three sets, including the deciding match where Chris Bailey took the measure of AhYat at No. 4, 6-1, 6-7 (7-3), 6-4. Etienne Moshevich beat Manser at No. 2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, and Fuchs topped Sheldon at No. 5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Follows was an easy winner over Dickey at No. 6, 6-2, 6-1.

In the following match, Whitworth provided a tough challenge before the Lutes wrapped up the match on Trudel's 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Michael Shelton at No. 1 singles.

The match started well enough for the Lutes when they took a pair of doubles points. Trudel and Peterson beat Shelton and Cameron Williams at No. 1, 8-3, and Manser and Sheldon defeated Joe Wales and Colin Zalewski at No. 2, 8-5. The Pirates got their doubles point at No. 3 where Colin Barrett and Blaine Massey took Dickey and Brian Higginbotham, 8-5.

In singles action, the Lutes won at 1-3 and Whitworth had the advantage at 4-6.

Peterson handled Zalewski at No. 2, 6-4, 6-2, and Sheldon knocked off Williams at No. 3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.

Wales beat Dickey at No. 4, 7-5, 6-1, Henry Williams topped Higginbotham at No. 5, 6-2, 6-0, and Barrett triumphed over Ben Fox at No. 6, 6-2, 6-2.

With all of the other matches decided and the score tied at 4-4, that left it up to Trudel, the reigning Northwest Conference Player of the Year, and Whitworth's upstart Shelton. Trudel won the opening set, Shelton took the second, and Trudel finally closed it out at 6-3 in the third.

- PLU -