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February 23, 2011

Men's Tennis Looks To Bounce Back In Home Openers

THIS WEEK:  After a tough two-loss weekend just days ago, the Pacific Lutheran University men's tennis team returns to the court in hopes of getting back into winning form as it hosts the College of Idaho and George Fox University.  With the emergence of sophomore Taylor Dickey as the Lutes #1 this season, the youth of the team has shown itself in the first two matches of 2011.  Losing 2-7 to Linfield and 3-6 to Pacific (Ore.), the Lutes are 0-2 to start a season for the first time since the spring of 2008.  The upcoming home matches will be the perfect stage for the Lutes to begin their winning ways and set out to once again make the NWC playoffs.  

ABOUT THE COYOTES:  In a non-conference match for the Lutes, the College of Idaho Coyotes will come into Tacoma at 0-4 on the year so far, with only two individual wins in 22 attempts in 2011.  The NAIA school out of Caldwell, Idaho has played three Northwest Conference opponents (Whitworth, George Fox, and Pacific) already, and lost to all three.  Led by their number one singles player, Chenjerai Simpson (1-3 overall), the Coyotes will also look to earn a W when they visit PLU and the University of Puget Sound.  The match against the C of I will give the Lutes a great opportunity to win their first match of this young 2011 season.  

WHAT'S BRUIN?:  In the conference home opener on Saturday, the Lutes will host the George Fox Bruins.  Coming into the weekend at 2-1 overall, the Bruins will look for more than they have received from PLU in the past several years.  In 2010, the Lutes handed George Fox a pair of 8-1 thumpings en route to a place in the NWC playoffs.  This year, however, the Bruins are led by their only two upper-classmen, Scott Barnett and Peter Brown, each of whom have started the season at 2-1 with their only losses coming to the perennial powerhouse, Whitman Missionaries.  The Lutes have not lost to the Bruins in the past three years, and will look to extend that streak this weekend when the two teams collide.  

PACIFIC 6, PLU 3:  Pacific Lutheran fell to 0-2 on the young men's tennis season Saturday, dropping a 6-3 Northwest Conference decision to the host Pacific University Boxers at Holce Tennis Courts.  Pacific (2-1, 1-1 NWC) started strong in doubles play winning two of three and was able to carry the energy into singles play with four wins in six flights.  Taylor Dickey and Scott Sheldon got the Lutes off to a good start at No. 1 doubles with an 8-5 win over Spencer Hing and Troy Zuroske, but the Boxers received wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Michael Okada and Scott Kawamura combined at the No. 2 position to defeat Zack AhYat and Neal Berg, 8-6, while at No. 3 Patrick Kinghorn and Alen Suklje defeated Daniel Cotton and Reed Gunstone, 8-3.  In singles competition, Dickey had a strong showing at No. 1, knocking off Okada, 6-0, 6-3, while Berg beat Eric Furuya, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 5.  Hing defeated Scott Sheldon 6-0, 6-3 at No.2, Zuroske topped AhYat 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3, Derek Cooley beat Cotton 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4, and Suklje stopped Gunstone 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6. 

LINFIELD 7, PLU 2:  Linfield took two of three doubles matches and then picked up three close singles victories on the way to a 7-2 Northwest Conference men's tennis win Friday after over Pacific Lutheran at Linfield Tennis Center.  The match was the season opener for both teams and was played at the indoor Rutschman Field House.  Taylor Dickey and Scott Taylor combined to wallop Mark Magdaong and Brent Kingzett, 8-1, at first doubles, but the Lutes were unable to hang with the other two Linfield teams, who took 8-0 and 8-5 victories.  The top three singles matches were close, with two of them going to a third set tiebreaker. Magdaong, one of the NWC's top singles players, took a 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) win over Taylor at first singles. Tal DeWitt and PLU's Sheldon went to a third set tiebreaker at second singles before DeWitt prevailed, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). The third singles match was even closer as Cody Levien held off Zack AhYat, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5). For AhYat, it was nonetheless a welcome return to the tennis court after he missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.  The Lutes did pick up a victory in a match that exceeded two sets as Reid Gunstone topped Tim Wagar, 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-7), as sixth singles. The other two matches went to Linfield's Kingzett at fourth singles and Zachery Lyons at fifth singles.