Spotted from the crow's nest: Daniel Redfern, men's tennis

Senior tennis player Daniel Redfern has made the most of his two-year Pirate career. Since joining the program from Skagit Valley Community College in 2011, Redfern has had two All-Northwest Conference seasons.

“Daniel can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the conference,” head coach Mike Shanks said. “He has the best forehand in the conference and he’s amazingly quick. It’s been a pleasure to watch him perform.”

Redfern, a math major from Camano Island, Wash., was the Pirates’ No. 1 singles player the past two seasons and was also part of the No. 1 doubles team this year and part of last year. He has a combined 40=++ wins in these two seasons, his best season coming this year with 22 total wins.

“Daniel is a great teammate,” junior Cameron Williams said. “It’s awesome to see him raise his game to the next level.”

Before Whitworth, Redfern played two years at Skagit Valley Community College where he won the singles conference championship as a freshman and placed second as a sophomore.

“It really was fun,” Redfern said of his experience. “The competition wasn’t the greatest because there were only four teams in the conference and there was only really one guy that consistently challenged me, but I still learned a lot.”

After transferring to Whitworth, Redfern earned NWC Player of the Week honors three times and was also named first team All-NWC in 2011 and 2012. Of all of his great accomplishments and experiences at Whitworth, there were two moments Redfern will always remember.

“Personally my favorite moment was when we were in Dallas over Spring Break last year,” Redfern said. “I was losing badly in the first set of my match, but I came back and won the set. I lost in the second set and I started cramping, but both the men’s and the women’s teams were there watching and supporting me. They helped me persevere through the pain and I won the third set.”

That match was against LeToureau University in Sherman, Texas, where Whitworth won 7-2. Every set in Redfern’s match was decided by at least two games, the final score being 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 6-4. Redfern played his best tennis in that match, but his favorite team moment came when he didn’t have his best personal day.

“My favorite moment as a team was when we were playing at Linfield last year,” Redfern said. “We lost all of our doubles matches and I lost my singles match, meaning we had to win five straight singles matches for the victory. We had some guys pull out some close matches and we ended up winning 5-4, taking third in conference because of that.”

Even though his Pirate tennis career might be over, Redfern still plans to be a part of next year’s team. Redfern is a junior academically but has senior eligibility in tennis so he will return next season to be an assistant coach on the team while finishing his degree.


Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photographer: Linnea Goold


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Missionaries best Pirates in NWC playoffs

The Whitworth men’s tennis season came to an end on Saturday after host Whitman College defeated the Bucs 9-0 in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Tournament in Walla Walla, Wash. “We knew [Whitman was] going to be difficult to beat,” senior Daniel Redfern said. “We were hoping to pull off the upset but it’s pretty impossible to come back at Whitman after going down 3-0.”

Whitman was the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the No. 1 team in the region, and eighth in the nation. The Missionaries won the first five games of the match, leaving the other four unfinished.

“It’s no fun to lose the last match of the season,” senior Ben Hamming said. “Whitman is really tough, a very, very good team.”

Whitworth, finishing the year 8-4 in the conference and 11-9 overall, stayed with the Missionaries in a lot of the matches.

Whitman started out the day by winning the first three doubles matches. Whitworth’s No. 1 doubles team of Redfern and junior Micah Spaun were outmatched by Whitman’s No. 1 team, losing 8-2.

The Pirates’ No. 2 doubles team of seniors Hamming and Stefan Dernbach had a tough time against Whitman’s No. 2 doubles team, falling 8-0. The Missionaries closed out the doubles portion of the match with an 8-3 win in No. 3 doubles against sophomore Dustin McConnell and freshman Chris Engelmann.

“I thought we played well, [the match] was very competitive,” Engelmann said. “We played a good team and even though the score didn’t show it the match was very competitive. Could have gone either way.”

The singles matches were highly competitive, but only two matches were finished as Whitman reached the necessary five wins before Whitworth could mount a comeback.

The two matches that finished first were No. 2 and No. 4 singles. In No. 4 singles, McConnell lost a competitive match, losing 6-2, 6-0.

In the last match of the semifinal, junior Cameron Williams lost a close two-set match, falling to Whitman junior Jeff Tolman 6-4, 7-5.

Of the four matches that were left unfinished, two of them went into tiebreakers. Redfern, playing his last game as a Pirate, was on the losing end of a first set tiebreaker, leaving the match at 7-6 (7-0), 2-1. The other tiebreaker was at No. 3 singles where Spaun’s second set ended in a tie, leaving the score 6-2, 6-6 (4-4).

In No. 5 singles, Hamming, also in his final match as a Pirate, finished his first set against Whitman junior Sam Sadeghi where he was behind 6-2. The No. 6 singles match never got started.

“It’s very different playing outside but we had decent weather,” Hamming said. “There’s wind that you have to take in account for and the depth perception on the ball is a little different, but we were ready for it.”

Redfern, who had his best season as a Pirate after transferring from Skagit Valley College after his sophomore year, finished with 22 wins on the season and 40 in his two-year Pirate career.

Hemming, who was a four-year contributor for the men’s tennis team, finished his best season in a Bucs uniform, compiling 14 wins between singles and doubles this season.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Hamming said. “I’ve enjoyed the team and the coach for four years and I’m sad it’s over. “

This was the second time this season that Whitworth played Whitman in Walla Walla, but the outcome was no different from the March 31 match-up which Whitman won 9-0.

The Missionaries played Sunday against George Fox University and swept the Bruins 5-0 for the Northwest Conference Tournament Championship.

Even though the tennis season is over, there is always hope for the coming years.

“Next year is going to be an uphill challenge because everyone in our conference is young and every team is deep,” Engelmann said. “It’s going to be a dog fight on our team for the last spots in our line-up next year. It’s going to be very competitive, but we’ll be good.”


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Pirates split final conference matches

Fourth-seeded men’s tennis set to take on Whitman in NWC tournament

The Pirate men’s tennis team finished the regular season this past weekend, earning a victory against Lewis & Clark College on Friday but losing a close contest to George Fox University on Saturday at the Scotford Tennis Center.

The Pirates also played a couple of non-conference matches earlier in the week — an exhibition match against the Community Colleges of Spokane and a home match against Lewis-Clark State College where Whitworth fell 9-0.

“It’s a lot of matches but we still have to go out and play,” sophomore Dustin McConnell said. “At this level you need to be prepared for the long matches and do the best you can to fight through.”

Whitworth finished the regular season with an 8-4 Northwest Conference record and an 11-8 record overall. The Bucs will take on Whitman next weekend in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament in Walla Walla, Wash.

“Playing Whitman is always fun because they’re always a challenge,” junior Cameron Williams said. “We gained some information last time we played them and developed some strategies around that. Now we want to implement that and finish strong.”

Whitworth started off the week with an exhibition match on Monday April 9 at the Community Colleges of Spokane. Whitworth played most of its reserve players in the exhibition, which ended in a 4-4 tie.

“We got to see guys play that don’t normally get to,” Williams said. “It’s exciting to watch them succeed on the on court.”

The day after the CCS match, the Bucs took on the Warriors of Lewis-Clark State College, falling 9-0 to the NAIA foes.

Two singles matches went to the third set, including No. 1 singles player Daniel Redfern who fell 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. The other was freshman Chris Engelmann who lost in No. 5 singles 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Two of the three doubles matches were within four games of each other as well, but the Warriors were too much for the Pirates.

On Friday the Pirates went back to finish up the regular season conference schedule when the team defeated Lewis & Clark College 7-2.

Redfern and junior Micah Spaun came through in the first match of the day as the two beat out the Boxers No. 1 doubles team 9-7.

“I felt really good about how we played doubles on Friday,” Redfern said. “It felt good to get that win considering how close it was.”

The two teams split the first four contests but Whitworth responded with five straight singles wins to close out the match. No. 2 singles player Spaun and McConnell, playing No. 3 singles, each won their matches decisively, both beating their opponents 6-1, 6-2.

The Pirates closed out the regular season at home on Saturday with a close 5-4 loss to the Bruins of George Fox University.

Redfern and Spaun had another close doubles match, this time coming up just short in a 9-7 loss.

“We lost a pretty tough one on Saturday,” Redfern said. “We almost had the match, but we lost a little momentum towards the end.”

After taking a 3-2 lead in the match, the Bruins took the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles contests, dooming the Pirates. Cameron Williams had one of the more inspiring wins in the match. Williams took the first set 6-4 against the No. 2 Bruin singles player but fell behind early in the second.

“I sat down with my coach and he had me focus on my breathing,” Williams said, after being down 4-1 in the second set. “It loosened me up and got me back in my groove.”

Williams came back and won the set 7-5, his eighth singles win of the year.

The Pirates will have a week to prepare for Whitman College, the eighth-ranked team in the nation. This is a rematch of the contest that was won by the Missionaries 9-0 on March 31.

“Personally I’m looking forward to playing their No. 1 (singles) player again, he’s the best in the conference,” Redfern said.  “We also have a new lineup for the match so we’ll see how that goes.”

The match will be played at the Bratton Tennis Center at Whitman College on April 21.


Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photography by Hope Barnes (Top) and Greg Moser (Bottom)


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Men's tennis secures spot in Northwest Conference Tournament

The Pirate men’s tennis team clinched a spot in the Northwest Conference Tournament over the weekend after claiming two key victories over Willamette University and Linfield College on Friday and Saturday. “Winning these two matches was huge,” junior Cameron Williams said. “Willamette was a very tough team and we clinched the post-season with the wins so it was a huge confidence booster for us.”

The Pirates, who improved to 7-3 in the Northwest Conference and 10-6 overall, only lost three matches all weekend and have won five of their last six conference matches.

“We had a great trip,” head coach Mike Shanks said. “We pulled out a great win versus the No. 2 team in the conference last year, Willamette, and got into a good rhythm today against Linfield. It was a very satisfying trip.”

The match went back and forth on Friday but the Pirates finished strong as the bottom three singles players took the last three matches, finishing off the Bearcats.

After dropping the competitive first doubles match of the day, the Bucs took the next two to gain an early 2-1 lead.

Williams and sophomore Dustin McConnell made quick work of the Bearcats’ No. 2 doubles team, winning 8-1. Seniors Ben Hamming and Stefan Dernbach broke the 1-1 tie in doubles with an 8-3 win in the No. 3 slot.

After Willamette junior Joshua Wong helped defeat senior Daniel Redfern in doubles, Redfern returned the favor in No. 1 singles by beating Wong 3-6, 7-5. Wong retired before the conclusion of the third set, giving Redfern the win.

“My opponent started cramping and it just got really bad so he had to retire,” Redfern said. “We got out to a good start in the match though, which was huge. It’s nice to know for sure you made the post-season.” The Pirates dropped the next two match ups, tying the match at three. The No. 4 and No. 5 singles matches each went into three sets but the Pirates pulled out both of them, sealing the victory.

In the No. 4 singles match, Hamming beat Bearcat sophomore Will Cooper 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and in the No. 5 singles match sophomore John Talbot overpowered Willamette sophomore Will Agnew-Svoboda for the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

Freshman Chris Engelmann added one more win to the Pirates total, defeating Willamette freshman Jack Schreiber 6-1, 6-1.

“We had four of our six singles matches go into three sets,” Williams said. “They might have had the upper hand but we regrouped after the rain delay and pulled out the victory.”

Saturday the Bucs fought through some close matches to claim the 9-0 victory over the Linfield Wildcats.

Redfern and junior Micah Spaun got Whitworth on the board with an 8-4 win in No. 1 doubles and No. 2 and No. 3 doubles followed suit as the Bucs swept the Wildcats doubles teams.

Redfern added another win on the board as he beat Linfield junior Zach Lyons 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. This was Redfern’s 12th singles win of the season and 20th win overall.

Williams had a similar match as he defeated the Wildcats No. 2 singles player 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

The rest of the singles matches went smoothly as no other Linfield player won more than three games in a set.

“This was the last road trip of the season for us so it was great to end it like that,” Williams said.

Whitworth will have two nonconference games April 9 and 10 against the Community Colleges of Spokane and Lewis-Clark State College before playing the last two conference matches at home April 13 and 14.


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Men's tennis falls against Whitman

The Whitworth men’s tennis team had a tough weekend as the team was shut out on Saturday, losing 9-0 to the Whitman College Missionaries at Bratton Tennis Center in Walla Walla.

Whitman, which is No. 9 in the national rankings and No. 1 in the regional rankings, hasn’t lost a conference match this year, and is the four-time defending Northwest Conference champions.

“Whitman has always been a huge name in our conference,” junior Cameron Williams said. “They’ve always been at the top as long as I’ve been at Whitworth and this year have really competed together.”

This was the Pirates’ first time being shut out by a conference opponent this season, falling to 8-6 overall and 5-3 in the NWC. Whitworth currently sits in fourth place in the NWC with four conference games left in the season. Although Whitworth put up a fight against the region’s No. 1 team, Whitman was too much for the Bucs.

The closest match of the day came in No. 3 singles where Whitworth sophomore Dustin McConnell fell to Missionary senior Conor Holton-Burke 6-4, 6-2.

“They have really solid guys throughout the lineup and the guy I played was no different,” McConnell said. “He was definitely a tough matchup but I felt like I played hard and was able to put myself in a couple of chances early on to make it close, but just didn’t quite come up with enough shots.”

It was McConnell’s first conference match of the season after helping lead Whitworth’s basketball team to a Sweet 16 appearance.

“I really enjoyed the basketball season, but ever since it’s been over I’ve just really enjoyed being able to get the tennis racket out,” McConnell said. “The guys on the team and the coach have all been great about making the transition really smooth for me.”

The only other Pirate to win four games in a set in Saturday’s matchup was Williams, who lost to Whitman junior Jeff Tolman 6-4, 6-1 in the No. 2 singles spot.

“I played pretty well; I have a lot of respect for Tolman,” Williams said.  “What it came down to is that I ended up just making more errors than he did.”

Senior Daniel Redfern snapped a five-game singles win streak after losing to Whitman’s No. 1 singles player 6-3, 6-2. Redfern, along with Williams, also lost in the No. 1 doubles slot, losing to Whitman junior Matt Tesmond and Holton-Burke 8-0.

The Pirates are looking for a strong finish in conference matches with postseason seeding on the line.

“These last four matches we have are crucial,” Williams said.  “We have a big match against Willamette this coming weekend, they’re always a tough opponent for us.”

This weekend Whitworth travels to Oregon to face off against Willamette  University and Linfield College before hosting its final two conference matches at home.


Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

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Men's tennis splits weekend

The Whitworth Pirates men’s tennis teams split last weekend’s matches, losing to George Fox University on Friday but defeating Lewis & Clark College on Saturday in Oregon. The Bucs are now 3-2 in the Northwest Conference and 4-4 overall.

Senior Ben Hamming came away with two singles victories over the weekend, defeating George Fox’s player 6-4, 6-2 on Friday and beating Lewis & Clark’s player 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday, both in No. 6 singles.

The Pirates were overwhelmed in Friday’s match, falling to the Bruins 7-2. The Buc players stayed with the Bruins in singles though, losing 6-4 in at least one set in four of the six singles matches.

The Bucs were led in that match by a couple of strong senior performances as Daniel Redfern got the Bucs on the board with a 6-3, 6-0 win over the Bruins No. 1 singles player. Hamming was the other Pirate with a victory on Friday.

“There was a little bit of an adjustment to play outdoors, but George Fox was the first contest that we were evenly matched,” Hamming said. “Any match could have gone either way, but the score doesn’t reflect that.”

Saturday was a different story, however, as the Pirates beat Lewis & Clark 8-1.

The Pirates started off well as all three of Whitworth’s doubles teams won their matches. The singles players took it from there as three Pirate juniors won singles matches in the Whitworth victory.

The week started off strong for the Pirates with an exhibition match against the crosstown Sasquatch of the Community Colleges of Spokane, defeating CCS 7-2. However, since the match was an exhibition it does not count toward the Pirates overall record.

The Whitworth men’s tennis team will continue conference play on Friday and Saturday as it takes on Willamette College and Linfield College in the Scotford Tennis Center.

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Men's tennis setback by Boxers

The Whitworth men’s tennis team suffered a setback on Saturday losing to conference foe Pacific University at the Hulce Tennis Courts in Forest Grove, Ore. The Boxers won all six singles matches and two of the three doubles matches. Only the No. 3 doubles team of sophomore John Talbot and freshman Matt Goebel were able to beat the Boxers, winning 8-5. The doubles team of Talbot and Goebel remain undefeated this season, improving to 2-0 together.

The Pirates, now 2-1 in the conference, fell to fifth place in the league. The Bucs are 3-3 overall. Pacific improved to 4-0 in the conference and 4-1 overall as they maintain their lead in the NWC.

The Pirates kept most of the matches close, especially the No. 5 and No. 6 singles. Senior Ben Hamming lost to Pacific’s Eric Furuya 7-6(8-6), 6-3 in No. 5 singles and freshman Chris Engleman was defeated by Boxer Scott Kawamura 7-6(7-1), 7-5 in the No. 6 singles spot.

“I was really happy to see how the bottom half of our lineup did, they showed real potential,” junior Cameron Williams said. “We were in the matches even thought the score didn’t show it.”

Pacific’s No. 1 doubles team defeated Whitworth’s senior Daniel Redfern and Williams 8-4. Redfern was later defeated by the Boxer’s Troy Zuroske 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles match and Williams lost to Pacific’s Spencer Hing 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles match.

The men’s tennis team will stay home and play against the Community College of Spokane on Monday, March 5.

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Men's tennis opens conference play

Whitworth men’s tennis opened conference play this weekend with authority, beating the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University at the Scotford Tennis Center. “The season has looked good so far, we’re playing pretty well,” senior Daniel Redfern said.

The Bucs prevailed over the visiting Loggers and the Lutes, extending their record to 2-0 in the Northwest Conference and 3-3 overall. In Whitworth’s last three matches they have outplayed their opponents by a total score of 26-1.

“We graduated five seniors last year so this year is a whole new ball game,” head coach Mike Shanks said. “We worked hard in practice, especially our doubles teams. We won all three doubles games verse UPS and PLU and when you win the first three matches it gives the rest of the team momentum.”

On Friday, the Pirates were dominant in their first Northwest Conference matchup of the season as the team went a perfect 9-0 against UPS. In the six singles matches on Friday, the Pirates only allowed the Loggers to win one game in any of the first sets.

The Bucs were led by No. 1 singles player Redfern, who didn’t surrender a game as he defeated the Loggers No. 1 player 6-0, 6-0. Redfern is 3-1 in singles play this year.

“I played really well at the start, but he picked it up later in the match which got me frustrated,” Redfern said. “ I’m pleased overall with my play and the teams play.”

The Pirates No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles players were almost as efficient as Redfern. Sophomore John Talbot defeated the Loggers Abe Noyes 6-0, 6-1 while junior Stefan Dernbach and freshman Chris Engelmann followed suit, defeating their opponents 6-0, 6-1 as well.

The Pirate doubles teams were in control of the Loggers all night, led by the No. 2 doubles team of Dernbach and junior Micah Spaun who beat the Loggers No. 2 doubles team 8-1. The Bucs No. 1 doubles team of Redfern and junior Cameron Williams defeated UPS’s No. 1 doubles 8-3.

“I’m really proud of the outcome and the way we stepped up,” Shanks said.

Saturday’s contest went in similar fashion as the Bucs took down the Lutes 8-1.

The Pirates started off strong as the three doubles teams won 8-3, 8-2 and 8-5. No. 1 and No. 2 singles had another strong outing as No. 1 Redfern beat the Lutes No. 1 player 6-0, 6-3 and No. 2 Williams beat the Lutes No. 2 player 6-2, 6-2.

“PLU is really tough,” Shanks said. “Pacific is going to be tough. These next three matches are going to be really tough, but we’re off to a good start.”

The Pirates will have some tests the next three games as they try to claim sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference.

“We have Pacific, Willamette and Linfield coming up and those should be pretty tough matches. We’re home for two of those which help’s a lot,” Redfern said. “Knowing the courts and having some kind of fan base always helps.”

The Bucs will travel to Pacific on March 3 for their first away conference game.

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Men's tennis earns first win over College of Idaho

The Whitworth men’s tennis team opened the 2012 season with three non-conference matches, earning its first season win against the College of Idaho after dropping two matches against Eastern Washington University and Lewis-Clark State College. On Jan. 29, the Bucs were swept 9-0 by the NCAA Division I Eastern Wash- ington Eagles. Senior Daniel Redfern (pictured left) performed well for the Pirates, playing a close match at No. 1 singles be- fore eventually falling 6-2, 6-4. He also teamed up with junior Cameron Wil- liams at No. 1 doubles in an 8-4 loss to James Russell and Chris Eriksson.

Lewis-Clark State defeated Whitworth 8-1 on Feb. 4, before bouncing back with a victory over the College of Idaho later that day.

Redfern had the only individual win for the Pirates against Lewis-Clark State, defeating Cesar Uauy 6-1, 6-4.

But it was a different story against the College of Idaho, as the Pirates swept the Yotes 9-0.

Redfern’s 6-1, 6-4 victory at No. 1 singles was his second of the young season, and junior Micah Spaun stepped in at No. 2 singles to claim a dominant 6-2, 6-1 victory.

The closest match-up was at No. 6 singles, where freshman Matt Goebel defeated Taylor Gordon 7-5, 6-1 for his first collegiate victory.

The Pirates open up conference play against Puget Sound on Feb. 24.

Story by Andrew Forhan Assistant Sports Editor

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File photo: Chrissy Roach