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April 13, 2011

Sights Set For 2012 Following Rough Season

ONE MORE EVENT: Though the 2011 season is over for the majority of the Pacific Lutheran men's team, senior Scott Sheldon and sophomore Taylor Dickey have one more event ahead of them. The duo will compete in doubles and in singles at the Ojai Tournament, arguably the top NCAA Division III tournament on the West Coast, from April 29-May 1 in Ojai, Calif. PLU players have had success at this tournament, highlighted by the duo of David Miller and Justin Larimore winning the doubles title in 2007.

DYNAMIC DUO: A bright spot on the 2011 team has been the partnership at of No. 1 double team Scott Sheldon and Taylor Dickey.  The pair has a 12-5 record this season, even knocking off the No. 2 regionally ranked Whitman Missionaries doubles team of Andrew La Cava and Conor Holton-Burke in the final team match of the season. Sheldon and Dickey finished conference play with a 9-2 record.

DEPARTING ELDER:  Scott Sheldon will be the only senior graduating this season, having gone 7-11 in singles and 13-5 in doubles this past season.  Heading into the Ojai tournament, the southpaw out of Edmonds, Wash., has a 40-34 career singles record and a 35-18 doubles record with several different partners.  The lefty will be sorely missed for his calm demeanor and composure on the court, which helped lead the Lutes to victory in several matches this season. 

SEASON WRAPUP:  After a season which saw the Pacific Lutheran University men's tennis team win only four matches in Northwest Conference play, sights will be set for the 2012 season.  With a team graduating only one senior, the experience gained by the young Lutes will help in next season.  The overall mark of 6-12 is the worst season for the Lutes in 40 years, when the team went 3-10 in the 1971 season.  Besides a string of three NWC wins in the middle of the 2011 season, the Lute netters struggled with the powerful conference competition.  The season finished with a bitter taste for the Lutes, as the team dropped five straight to Chapman, Whittier, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Whitworth, and Whitman to end 2011.  In the losing streak, the Lutes only won seven matches of a possible 45.  

LOOKING AHEAD:  In examining the projected 2012 team, the Lutes will look to their upper-classmen to take the reins and lead the team to victory.  Dickey (7-10 singles record in 2011) and AhYat (8-9) will be asked to shoulder the brunt of the burden, but so too will Daniel Cotton (6-11), Neal Berg (3-14) and Reed Gunstone (7-11).  With the extensive match experience gained this past season, all of these players should be fit and ready for taking on the NWC in 2012.  

- PLU -

By: Alex Schisel, Student Assitant