Whit women drop matches in California

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The Whitman College women’s tennis team came out on the short end of two matches against highly ranked regional rivals over the weekend as they wrapped up their Southern California Spring Break trip.

On Saturday, No. 28 UC-Santa Cruz bested the Missionaries, 7-2, and on Sunday, No. 13 Redlands edged Whitman, 5-4, with both matches played at Santa Cruz.

Against the Banana Slugs on Saturday, Whitman had to win five singles matches after coming out of doubles trailing 3-0.

The Missionaries recorded victories at No. 1 and 2 singles with Courtney Lawless defeating Arianna Mokhtari, 6-4, 6-3 and Alyssa Roberg handling Alexandra Scotten, 6-3, 6-1, but UCSC prevailed in the other four singles matches to close out the win.

Whitman was close to getting two victories in the bottom half of the lineup as Jenna Dobrin battled Courtney Lymburner at No. 4 before falling 7-5, 6-3, and Kate Kunkel-Patterson rebounded from a grueling 7-5 first-set loss to grab the second set, 6-4, but was edged out in the match tiebreaker 10-8, at No. 6.

But the match was greatly decided in the opening doubles contests.

At No. 1, Courtney Lawless and Roberg came roaring back from a 7-4 deficit to force a tiebreak against Alexandra Scotten and Laura Wade, only to have their hearts broken 9-8 (7).

Victories were within the Whits’ grasp at both No. 2 and 3, but the Slugs figured out a way to win.

Maddy Webster and Morgan Lawless led 6-5 at No. 2, but Mokhtari and Katy Collins broke back to take the last three games and the match, 8-6.

Katrina Allick and Kate Rubinstein held a 5-4 advantage at No. 3, facing Lymburner and Mannix, but the UCSC duo rattled off four straight games to get the win, 8-6.

Against Redlands, the Missionaries again faced an uphill battle after the opening doubles matches, this time trailing 2-1.

Allick and Rubinstein got the lone victory, outdueling Paige Press and Lauren Villanueva, 9-8 (2) at No. 3, allowing the Whits to still be in the match entering singles play.

Courtney Lawless looked solid in her opening set against Jessica Ly at No. 1, winning 6-1, but Ly turned the tables on the crafty Texan in the second set, prevailing 6-4 and forcing a tiebreak, which Lawless dominated 10-1 for the victory.

Roberg carved out a 6-4, 6-4, victory against Natalie Etchegaray at No. 2 to get the Missionaries right back in the match.

At No. 3, Morgan Lawless outlasted Ceara Sumida, 6-1, 4-6, 10-6, finding another gear in the tiebreak, to give Whitman a sweep at the top of the lineup.

Then, Redlands took the next three matches in straight sets to gain the 5-4 victory.

“Certainly, we wanted and felt we could have won both matches,” Whitman coach John Hein said. “But I’m not only proud of the effort and incredible fight our team showed, but I also feel that by playing two high quality teams who are in great form right now, we will learn a lot from these matches.”

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