Whitworth fell to Lewis-Clark State 7-2 Saturday in Lewiston, Idaho, for their last team match before beginning conference play this weekend. “We played hard and gave a lot of effort today, which explains why all of our matches were so close,” senior Chris Engelmann said. “The doubles matches were all within one break, and the singles matches were mostly close as well.”
Senior Matt Goebel won his doubles match with junior Blake Miller 8-6, and also won his singles match in straight sets. Junior Drew Brigham and Engelmann also had good performances but lost in straight sets after starting at the No. 1 and 2 spots respectively.
Brigham said he felt he stepped his game up compared to the week before, where he did not feel as sharp as he usually does. Brigham was content with the fact that he was hitting difficult shots while remaining accurate, he said.
“We have been playing really good teams at the start of this season to get us up for the oncoming games,” Brigham said. “Being in close matches is a good confidence booster going into conference play.”
The Pirates will begin Northwest Conference play next weekend when they travel down to Oregon to face Pacific and George Fox.
The coaches and players are both positive about the 2015 season, as they see high potential and talent on the team. Assistant coach Cameron Williams has high hopes for the upcoming season as well.
“In the start of our season we always play local teams to warm up for conference play,” Williams said. “Based on what us coaches have seen in the past few weeks, this is our greatest start ever.”
The team is hoping to improve on their fifth-place finish in conference last year, knowing their will be many challenges in a talented group of Northwest Conference teams. However, the coaches have seen promising play from the teams’ under and upperclassmen.
“Tennis is a lifetime sport, so there are always things you can be working on everyday in practice,” Williams said. “Our team chemistry is really good this year, so we are excited to see what the season brings.”