Golf wins before rain

The first day of the Lewis & Clark Invitational ended with both the men’s and women’s teams in first place and contained notable performances. Junior Oliver Rudnicki led the team with a score of 69, while junior Andrew Dodge, junior Austin Billeter, sophomore Jamie Carroll and Junior Samson Martinez all contributed with scores of 76, 81, 82 and 84, which all led to a Whitworth lead of 304 over Pacific Lutheran University, Willamette University, Linfield College, George Fox University, Pacific University and Lewis & Clark College. On the women’s side, freshman Katie Ochoa and junior Chelsea Bayley held the first and second place with scores of 79 and 80 respectively, with senior Nicole Lomax’s 83, sophomore Michal Schuster’s 86, and junior Cindy Tapia’s 94 also being of particular note and contributing to Whitworth’s 328 at the end of the first day.

“I’ve hit in the 70s before, but doing it in a college tournament means so much more,” Ochoa said on her victory last weekend.

However, the tournament was cancelled due to poor weather conditions on the second day, meaning that the first day’s scores ended up being final.

“We were fortunate enough to come out strong and end the first day ahead,” Rudnicki said.

Indeed, the weather conditions were prevalent even on the first day, testing the team’s abilities greatly. Despite the circumstances, Whitworth excelled.

“We had a lot of fantastic performances today,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said in reflection upon the tournament.

The Whitworth golf teams play April 3 in Walla Walla for the Whitman Invitational.

After the Whitman Invite, both teams will gear up for the NWC Spring Classic as the men look to continue their championship form from the NWC Fall Classic last semester.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Baseball closes out weekend with victory

Whitworth hit the road last weekend to Parkland, Washington for a three-game set with conference opponent Pacific Lutheran. The Bucs lost both games of the doubleheader on Friday before rebounding with a beat-down of the Lutes on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday morning, the games were moved up to Friday and Saturday to avoid a rainy forecast for later in the weekend.

Coming into the weekend, the Lutes were ranked 19th overall, according to d3baseball.com’s rankings with a 12-5 record. The Pirates entered the weekend with a 10-6 record, having taken two of three games in both of their conference matchups the past two weekends.

The story for Whitworth to this point in the season has been the offense and its ability to put runs on the scoreboard, averaging just shy of nine runs per game. Last weekend against the Lutes, the Pirates put up a total of 12 runs in three games—including a game in which they were shut out.

In the Friday doubleheader, the Pirates managed to scratch across two runs in the first game—losing that game 4-2—and none in the second game—losing 2-0.

“Our defense kept us in both games, but our inability to capitalize and put up runs sealed our fate in those two losses,” senior infielder Nick Motsinger said.

The scoring drought appeared to be short-lived as the Bucs bounced back on Saturday for the final game of the series with 10 runs, propelling the Bucs to a 10-4 victory. Whitworth knocked the ball around the park on Saturday with 13 hits, five of which were doubles. Junior Jeremy Druffel clubbed a home run in the game: a two-run shot in the top of the first inning after the leadoff hitter, sophomore Dalton Carter, reached base on a walk.

Whitworth senior Cory Mack had his best outing of the season on the mound in the Saturday game, going for six and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs—only one of which was earned—and recording seven strikeouts.

“It’s nice to get back to old form. I’ve struggled this year so far, but I worked on my mechanics this week and it paid off for me this weekend,” Mack said.

The Whitworth pitching staff held the Lutes to only 10 runs over the course of the weekend, and only seven of those were earned runs. Especially strong for Whitworth were the efforts they received in relief.

Senior Tyler VonDracek pitched two and a third innings of relief in the first game of the weekend and didn’t allow a single hit or run. In the second game of the Friday doubleheader, senior Nick Scourey came on in relief and allowed only one run and three hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.

In the final game of the weekend, senior Carson Blumenthal earned his third save of the season after going two and one-third innings of no-hit baseball, racking up four strikeouts as well.

“We all threw really well this weekend. We haven’t thrown to our potential this year, but after this weekend I think we are on the right path,” Mack said.

The Pirates return to Merkel Field on Saturday and Sunday for a three-game set against the University of Puget Sound, with the first game set to start at noon on Saturday.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Women's tennis restarts streak at Scotford Center

The women’s tennis team got their winning streak back on track playing at home last weekend, defeating the University of Puget Sound on Saturday and Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday. Whitworth started the weekend off on Saturday with an 8-1 win against UPS at the Scotford Tennis Center. UPS only had five players competing due to injury, and thus had to forfeit one of their doubles and one of their singles matches.

“We played better singles today than we have in a long time, and that wasn’t even the ceiling of our singles play,” Coach Rachel Aldridge said. “We worked a lot on aggressive singles play in practice.”

The Bucs started off the day by splitting their two doubles matches and then ended strong by sweeping their singles matches 5-0. Senior Saryn Mooney started at the No. 2 spot and won her singles match in straight sets and also won her doubles match with Caylee Lamm 8-4.

“I think we did not know what to expect going into the singles matches, beside the fact that  the other team didn’t have a winning record,” Mooney said. “We knew it was important for us to stay mentally tough.”

Whitworth not only won all of its singles matches in straight sets but had some convincing performances with sophomore Bella Hoyos and senior Morgan McDivitt both winning their singles matches in dominant fashion. Junior Taylor Peña also won her singles match 6-1 in the first set and 6-2 in the second set.

The match was Peña’s first singles win of the season, as she has had some challenging competition starting at the number one spot all year.

“The nice part is just playing my game and feeling good while I’m playing. Being happy with how I played is a good feeling,” Peña said. “Keeping the ball deep, staying consistent, and using my legs to brace against [my opponent’s] ball were keys to my success.”

On Sunday, the Bucs had another dominant performance against PLU, coming out as 7-2 victors.

“It felt pretty good to come back out after not playing very well in doubles yesterday,” McDivitt said. “Today we came out with more energy and confidence.”

McDivitt won her doubles match with Hoyos 8-2,and had a blowout singles match, winning 6-2 in both sets. Whitworth won five of six singles matches and two out of the three doubles matches against PLU.

Every Pirate player who won her respective singles match did so in straight sets, and both of the doubles wins were controlled by the Bucs.

“I’m pretty confident just because as a team we have been working hard to improve,” Hoyos said. “Being able to play tough competitors on my team in practice helps with my confidence in matches.”

Hoyos kept her singles win streak alive Sunday, winning again in straight sets. Hoyos is the only Buc to remain undefeated in singles in Northwest Conference play and appears determined to keep rolling over opponents.

Peña and freshman Jennifer Adams also won their doubles match together 8-3, and won both of their respective singles matches in straight sets. Aldridge said she was pleased overall with her team’s work over the weekend.

“The players are fun, and I like that this is a collective team. Tennis is such an individual sport, but this is very much a team,” Aldridge said.

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Men's basketball season ends with dramatic loss against Emory

After being fouled by sophomore forward Christian Jurlina with five seconds left in the game, Emory junior guard Davis Rao hit both shots from the free throw line to give the Eagles a one-point lead. A last-second 3-pointer from junior forward George Valle missed the mark and left the Pirates on the wrong side of a one-point deficit to end their tournament run. Despite 6-10 shooting from the field and 9-11 shooting from the strike for Valle and senior Adam Wilks’ 10-13 shooting from the field for a career-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds, the Pirates could not keep the Eagles at bay.

“Adam did a really good job for us. He played the best basketball of his career that night,” head coach Matt Logie said.

Whitworth led Emory by three, 40-37, at the half with 26 of those Pirate points coming from the paint. However, Emory managed to keep their bench involved and put up 21 of their 37 points from bench play.

Points off the bench proved to be a key factor in keeping the Eagles around in spite of slim Whitworth leads in the last ten minutes of play. Sophomore guard Jonathan Terry put up 22 points off the bench and finished behind his teammate, senior forward Alex Foster, who was able to hit from all over the court as part of his 30 points and nine rebounds.

Foul trouble proved costly for both teams in the closing minutes but turned out to hit the Bucs hardest. Valle, senior forward Taylor Farnsworth and Jurlina all hit foul trouble early and spent significant second-half time on the bench. Jurlina fouled out with five seconds to play and was not able to make a run at the last-second shot opportunity for the Bucs.

“I think it affected our rotations. I think we got to a point in the game where we had some guys in foul trouble playing down the stretch and they may not have been in the game under normal circumstances,” Logie said. “We had to be a little bit more passive defensively and I thought it was harder for us to defend the rim and protect the paint down the stretch because of that.”

Farnsworth, who was limited to four points in nine minutes in the Emory loss has been dealing with a broken thumb for most of the season in addition to a leg injury he sustained in the last few weeks, Logie said.

“Taylor really just didn’t get in a rhythm whether it was fouls or just unfortunate circumstances. It was just one of those weekends for him and that happens,” Logie said. “You hate to see that happen to a senior, but we wouldn’t [have gone as far as we have] without Taylor Farnsworth and what he’s meant to our program.”

The Pirates finish the season 25-4 after going 15-1 at home and winning both the NWC Championship and the NWC Tournament Championship.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Softball continues series win streak

The softball team played four games against Pacific Lutheran University, with two on Saturday and two more on Sunday, and winning the first 3-0 and the second 9-1. Whitworth followed these games the next day with a 4-3 win and a 5-2 loss. In spite of ending on defeat, Whitworth won the series against Pacific Lutheran overall, continuing their streak of winning every series thus far. Sophomore Catcher Kayla Batastini credits the streak to practice ethic. “We work really hard at practice all during the week, do exactly what we’re taught, and then come out and do our job,” Batastini said.

The first game of the weekend kicked off with a shutout. The Bucs began the game with a couple of runs within the first inning. Senior OF Peyton McMahon landed the first run by sending sophomore UT Shannon Wessel to home plate, and shortly completed a run of her own due to sophomore IF Tessa Matthews landing a hit.

The following inning yielded no change of score, but in the third, Whitworth added another run to the board with Matthews hitting a pop fly that resulted in sophomore Wessel landing another run. The team then managed to successfully prevent any points scored against them for the the remainder of the game.

The second game opened with the Bucs sacrificing a run early on and not scoring any in return for the vast majority of the match. However, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pirates managed to score nine consecutive runs, which in turn resulted in the game ending in that inning.

The second day of games opened with another Whitworth win. Wessel landed a hit in the fourth inning that resulted in a home run while two other players were on base. After adding three runs to the board, the Bucs were able to pass PLU’s two-run lead. While PLU managed to tie things up in the fifth inning, another home run by Matthews resulted in Whitworth winning the match.

“The best thing to do is to just keep pushing for more runs,” Wessel said about coming back from being behind in a game.

The weekend ended with the Bucs losing the final game of the series against PLU. After earning two runs during the second inning, PLU would go on to stay ahead for the rest of the game, in spite of sophomore IF Kelsey Stroshine and Kayla Batastini landing hits that resulted in a couple of Whitworth runs.

The final score of the game came down to a 5-2 Whitworth loss. However, Whitworth remains undefeated in series wins, a fact that Matthews credits to the team dynamic.

“When people need to get hits, they get on that and do their jobs, and we have really good pitchers and defense,” Matthews said.

Next weekend, the Bucs will go up against Pacific for another four games at home.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Baseball wins two of three to take George Fox series

Led by standout pitching performances from seniors Dan Scheibe and Spencer Ansett, the Whitworth Pirates took two of three games from George Fox over the weekend at Merkel Field. In the front end of the Saturday doubleheader, Scheibe went eight innings, allowing a lone run on a solo home run in the second inning to Bruins first-baseman Jacob Woehler.

“I got behind in the count and just put a fastball over the plate and he took advantage,” Scheibe said.

Scheibe recorded six strikeouts in the outing while allowing only five hits. Bucs’ senior pitcher Carson Blumenthal came into the game in the ninth inning and shut down the Bruins in order to record the save. The Pirates came away with the victory in the first game with a final score of 2-1.

The second game of the Saturday doubleheader started out with the Pirates taking an early lead thanks to a Josh Davis solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. However, the Bruins would respond in a big way, putting eight runs on the board in the third inning, followed by four more runs in the fourth inning.

One thing head coach Dan Ramsay took out of the second game, however, was the respect shown to the Pirates’ offense by the Bruins.

“Even when they were up by 11 runs, they were still trying to run some offensive plays: sacrifice bunts, steals, stuff like that. That’s respect for our offense,” Ramsay said.

Pirate senior Josh Davis drove in four of the five Whitworth runs in that second game, in which the Bucs fell to the Bruins, 16-5.

With the Sunday game the rubber-match in the three-game series, the Pirates handed the ball to senior Spencer Ansett, and Ansett responded with a gem.

Ansett threw for 8 1/3 innings on Sunday, allowing only one run on seven hits while striking out six Bruins. To make it even better for Ansett, he only needed 88 pitches to get through those 8 1/3. Of those 88 pitches, 62 were thrown for strikes.

Ansett made a habit of getting ahead in the count against the Bruins, throwing a first-pitch strike to 22 of the 32 batters he faced in the game.

“It’s always something you want to do, it keeps batters on their heels and they aren’t able to put aggressive swings on pitches deeper in the count if you’re ahead,” Ansett said.

The Sunday matchup was a pitcher’s duel, with both Ansett and the Bruins starting pitcher, senior Taylor Dunn, dealing for at least eight innings each.

For the second time in the weekend, Josh Davis smashed a first-inning home run. In fact, it looked like an identical shot to the same part of right-field as his home-run on Saturday afternoon.

“I had a 3-0 count, so I knew he was going to have to get a fastball over the plate or I wasn’t swinging. As you could tell, I got the pitch I was looking for,” Davis said.

After the Bruins scratched a run across in the third inning, the teams stayed knotted up at one until the ninth inning. Ansett got in a bit of a jam after getting the first out of the inning, giving up back-to-back singles.

Pirate senior Carson Blumenthal entered the game and induced an inning-ending double play. “I was just thinking, in that situation we needed to keep the baserunners from advancing. So, I either needed to get the strikeout, or preferably, a double-play ball. Thankfully I got the grounder and we got out of the inning,” Blumenthal said.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases for freshman Joel Condreay with no outs. Condreay chopped the ball towards third base, and Davis broke for home. The Bruins third-baseman, Riley McKean, charged and fired the ball home, but it went over the head of catcher Ansel Webster, allowing Davis to score the game-winning run, arms stretched high to the air as he crossed the plate.

“It’s those close games that really get your heart going,” Ramsay said.

The Pirates took the final game of the series 2-1, giving them a series win as well after taking two of three games from the Bruins. Next weekend, the Pirates travel to Parkland, Washington to take on Pacific Lutheran.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

 

Men's tennis competes against Whitman, unable to secure first win

The men’s tennis team fell to Whitman 7-2 Saturday on the outside courts of the Scotford Tennis Center. “I told the team that I feel happy with the way they played, as we came away with a couple matches against a nationally-ranked Whitman,” assistant coach Cameron Williams said. “However we don’t feel content, since we have a lot of expectations for our team.”

Whitworth went down 2-0 in their doubles matches before senior Chris Engelmann and junior Drew Adams won their doubles match 9-8 in a tiebreaker. The match kept the Bucs within striking distance going into singles play. This was the pair’s first doubles win of the season.

“Chris and I have had a lot of close doubles matches this year, so it was nice to finally finish one,” Adams said. “I thought we were consistent and made them play really well, forcing them to finish plays.”

No match is easy against conference-leading and defending-champion Whitman, and the Missionaries showed that in their singles play. Whitworth lost every singles match, except for senior Matt Goebel’s dominant contest with Goebel winning in straight sets.

“In singles today I was good at being consistent and kept the ball deep while keeping my opponent moving,” Goebel said. “Overall we played well today, putting in good rallies in doubles and getting smart points.”

Along with Goebel’s win, the other big highlight of the day was Adams’ and Engelmann’s doubles match. The pair had to come up with a win to keep Whitworth alive, and they did so in a nail-bitter.

The crowd was drawn into the match and erupted whenever Engelmann or Adams smashed home a big point. The crowd went even wilder when the pair won a point at the net to put the match away.

“Drew and I are a good combination, since I have a lot of power while he has great finesse,” Engelmann said. “Our styles complement each other, so we need to continue learning to play with each other to get our chemistry.”

Whitworth is still searching for its first win this season, but they have faced some tough competition at the start, and suffered a tough loss to George Fox. However, the coaches see the team improving with every match, and are confident that they can turn these positive results into wins.

“The most tangible goal is where we land in conference, so we want to finish top four so we can make the conference tournament,” Williams said. “We need to know when to go for big shots and when to be patient.”

Whitworth plays again next weekend in Tacoma, Washington against the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, and Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday.

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Track teams sweep Northwest competition at UPS

Both of Whitworth’s track teams took first place in the UPS 5-way meet this Saturday.  The Pirates took first place in 15 events over Western Washington University, Lewis & Clark College, Seattle Pacific University, and University of Puget Sound. Junior Katie McKay broke her personal record for the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.58.  McKay was ahead of the pack the entire race and finished with more than a five second lead.

“It’s exciting to start out with a PR, because then I look forward and see that I have about two months left, which is plenty of time to look ahead to nationals,” McKay said.

McKay holds 4th place in the NWC for the 800 meter.

The Pirates won the men’s javelin event due to a 63.35m throw from senior Chase Wright.  Wright had been recovering from an injury prior to the meet, but overcame the challenge and qualified for the NWC Championships.

“It’s all on the trainers and the coaches. The whole week before the meet they made sure I was ready to go,” Wright said.

Three Pirates received qualifying marks in the women’s discus event, including senior Courtney Fairhart who won the event with at 42.66m throw. Second and third place went to sophomore Danielle Openiano and senior Elke Neuenschwander, respectively.

“I’m going to take each meet one day at a time. If I win again, that’d be great, but if one of my teammates also wins, that’d be awesome,” Fairhart said.

Whitworth took many other first-place finishes. Senior Kendall Chin received a time of 11:35.35 in the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase and freshman Kayla Brase took first place in Women’s Long and Triple Jump. The women’s 4x100 meter relay team ran a time of 49.79.

The men were able to claim victory in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dash.  Freshman Daniel Harper ran a 1:57.51 800, while Whitworth’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams each took first place. Senior Joseph Green cleared a 15’11” pole vault and senior Corey Burt threw the shot 49’4.5” for first place for the shot put as well.

At the end of the meet, the Pirates walked away with 56 qualifying marks between 42 people.  Head Coach Toby Schwarz said he hopes every member of the team will receive a qualifying mark to go to the NWC Championships.

“We had 27 men and 27 women on this trip and 21 men and 21 women qualified.  We are about halfway there to getting everyone qualified. Not bad in the first meet,” Schwarz said.

Whitworth’s next meet will be on Tuesday, March 10 at the Pine Bowl. The Pirates will compete in a dual meet with Lewis-Clark State.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Tennis splits road contests

The women’s tennis team split their two matches on their trip down to Salem, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington last weekend, blowing out Willamette on Saturday, but losing on Sunday to Whitman. Whitworth added more to its recent success with an 8-1 win over Willamette in Salem, Oregon.

“I definitely see the team getting better with every week. We have been working hard in practice and are bringing what we learn to matches,” sophomore Bella Hoyos said. “In doubles Anabelle [Burns] and I were super consistent and forced a lot of errors.”

Hoyos won her doubles match with sophomore Anabelle Burns 8-1, and also won her singles match in straight sets starting at the No. 2 spot. Senior Saryn Mooney and senior Morgan McDivitt also won their doubles match and both of their respective singles matches.

Whitworth capped off a sweep in doubles with a 5-1 win in singles. Every match the teams won ended in straight sets.

Freshman Jennifer Adams won her doubles match with Taylor Pena 8-5, and also won her singles match in straight sets starting at the No. 3 spot.

“As a freshman, it’s pretty nice to be doing well, but I’m starting to get in my groove a little bit,” Adams said. “In doubles we were able to hold serves and stay focused, and in my singles match I was able to play consistently.”

Sunday’s match against Whitman in Walla Walla was also not very close, except this time Whitworth was on the other side of the score, losing 7-2.

“The major difference between Saturday and Sunday was the caliber of the team on the other side of the net,” head coach Rachel Aldridge said. “When we play our best tennis we are closely matched with Whitman, but we did not play our best tennis today.”

Whitworth lost all three of their doubles matches, but Bella Hoyos and Morgan McDivitt came up with wins in their respective singles matches. Hoyos continued her winning form, doing so in straight sets, while McDivitt had a grind-out win in three sets after losing the first one.

“I tried to think of the score as zero to zero after losing the first set, and focus on playing patient and just playing my game,” McDivitt said. “The players we played against today were definitely harder and more consistent than yesterday.”

Whitman finished first in the Northwest Conference last year, and currently remain tied in first place with Linfield. With the loss on Sunday, Whitworth remains in fourth place in the conference, where they have a 3-2 record.

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Baseball comes out swinging, sets game record

Whitworth’s baseball team opened up conference play with a bang. Rather, they came out swinging. And swinging. And swinging some more. The Pirates took both ends of the Saturday doubleheader from Whitman, but failed to complete the sweep by losing the final game on Sunday afternoon. Coming off a weekend where the Pirates put up 47 runs in four games in Kerrville, Texas, Whitworth continued its scoring ways against Northwest Conference opponent Whitman College in a big way.

In the front-end of a Saturday doubleheader, Whitworth senior Dan Scheibe stole the show from the pitcher’s mound, notching 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work while allowing a single run, on a solo home run, on five hits.

Senior Carson Blumenthal relieved Scheibe after seven innings, but continued the dominating performance, striking out three Missionaries while not allowing a hit over the final two innings.

The Pirates’ took the first game from the Missionaries, 8-1.

“The offense’s job is easier when you have a guy competing on the mound,” freshman infielder Joel Condreay said.

As nice as it is for an offense to compete when a pitcher is dominating on the mound, it is just as simple for a pitcher to compete when your offense is dominating at the plate. That’s exactly what happened in the back-end of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, and it was led by Condreay.

Not 5. Not 10. Not 20. Whitworth tallied 29 runs in this baseball game, a Whitworth Pirates baseball all-time record. The Pirates racked up 11 extra-base hits in the game, 10 of which were of the two-bag variety. Three of those doubles belonged to Condreay, who finished the game 6-6 (with a walk as well) with 5 RBIs.

Whitworth finished the game 31-for-55 at the dish, a scorching .564 batting average. The game ended with the Pirates winning 29-6.

“The most impressive thing was that every time our defense allowed a few runs, our line-up punched back twice as hard,” senior pitcher Nick Scourey, the starting pitcher in the second game, said.

Whitworth committed four errors in the first two innings with Scourey on the mound, yet only allowed a pair of runs in those innings.

“Our defense could have been better. Today was a step in the right direction, but as a whole, we aren’t where we need to be yet,” Condreay said.

The Pirates were unable to come away with the sweep, falling to the Missionaries 5-2 in the final game of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon. “We let one slip today, but learned a lot of valuable lessons,” senior pitcher Cory Mack said.

“It says something about the expectations for our program when you take two of three games in a weekend, and you’re left wanting more,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “Even if we win every game, and don’t allow any runs the entire weekend, we’re always going to find something we can improve on.”

Whitworth heads to Ellensburg, Washington for a double-header against Central Washington on Wednesday this week before hosting George Fox at Merkel Field for the first home Northwest Conference games of the season this weekend.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Softball wins three of four against Willamette

On Feb. 28, the softball team pulled off a double win against Willamette, shutting them out 3-0 in the first game and achieving a 9-5 victory with the second. The following day, Whitworth lost a game 3-1 before finishing out the weekend with an 11-0 victory, resulting in an overall series win against Willamette. Whitworth’s defense played a massive role in the first game, preventing Willamette from scoring throughout the game. After successfully preventing Willamette from scoring in the first inning, senior outfielder Peyton McMahon broke the ice and landed a hit that resulted in a Whitworth run. This trend continued into the second and third innings with Willamette being held at bay until Whitworth’s offense retaliated with two more runs.

For the rest of the game, however, not a single run against Willamette was scored. Inning after inning onwards, the game was entirely defensive, with both Whitworth and Willamette preventing runs from reaching the board. Whitworth proceeded to get a total of 21 outs to Willamette’s 18 outs, and in spite of some close calls in the fifth and sixth innings, the game ended at 3-0.

“We hit well today and played a really defensive game. We have a really solid defense,” freshman UT Kelsey Downey said of the first match.

The Pirates followed up their first victory against Willamette with another one that began a half hour later. Gaining a 6-0 lead early on, the Bucs continued their offensive strike by scoring three more in the latter half of the game, but also let five get by.

The next day, the Bucs had their third game against Willamette. For the first four innings, not a single run was scored. The second and third innings were particularly tense, with Whitworth barely preventing the Bearcats from scoring. They first gained an out on a near home run in the second and then successfully stopped a Willamette player midway through a steal. During the fifth inning, Willamette landed a single run before getting two more due to a home run hit. Whitworth managed to get a run up on the board during the next inning, but didn’t achieve a comeback, resulting in a 3-1 loss.

The fourth and final game off the series kicked off shortly afterward with the Bucs holding off Willamette defensively before hitting two runs within the first inning. While the second inning saw no points being scored either way, the third inning saw a major change of pace for the game. After scoring twice again, Whitworth hit three home runs, with sophomore Kayla Batastini hitting the first and being shortly followed by senior Peyton McMahon and sophomore Kelsey Stroshine. With no more runs made for the rest of the game, the final tally came to be 11-0, resulting in Whitworth winning the series against Willamette.

“We out-hit and out-pitched them, with very minimal earned runs given up,” head coach Cristal Brown said.

The wins against Willamette continues the team’s streak of no series losses.

“We have a team goal to not lose a single series,” freshman outfielder Chelsea Hayes said.

The Whitworth softball team will be playing another four games this Saturday and Sunday against Pacific Lutheran at home.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Men’s basketball clinches NWC Tournament crown

After battling a tough Willamette team on Thursday, the men’s basketball team defeated an upstart Lewis & Clark team on Saturday, 69-58, for the Northwest Conference Tournament Championship. In a game with seven lead changes and only a five-point Pirate lead at the half, the contest would come down to the last few minutes before a definitive result could be determined. With the student section clad in white and the Pirate players sporting their white home jerseys, the setting looked like a good vs. evil matchup out of a movie as Whitworth opposed Lewis & Clark in their black and orange.

Head coach Matt Logie made a change for the starting lineup by starting senior forward Adam Wilks and having freshman guard Matt Staudacher come off the bench.

“We wanted to establish ourselves on the glass early on and really set the tone on the defensive side,” Logie said.  “When we were able to go in with Matt and play our traditional lineup, we were able to pick up the pace and the tempo and I thought it worked pretty well.”

Despite winning the tip, the Bucs could not get anything going early offensively. Both teams traded the lead for the first 10 minutes of play with Lewis & Clark forwards Bradley Carter and Carl Appleton providing very physical presences in the paint. In the last Whitworth outing against the Pioneers, Appleton finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds while scoring key baskets to keep Pioneers within striking distance throughout that game.

“It’s tough. [Appleton]’s a huge body and he knows how to use it,” Farnsworth said. “It’s just kind of about working early and trying to fight for position early because if he gets you buried, it’s pretty tough. He can just put you in the rim.”

However, early foul trouble and the Pirates’ effective full-court offensive push proved too much for the slower Lewis & Clark forwards.

“I thought it was important for us tonight against Lewis & Clark to try to play with some tempo and pace and get some things in transition because their defense is so good in the halfcourt,” Logie said. “You got to give your guys some freedom to attack and make plays and fortunately our defense was able to create some opportunities.”

Late scoring runs in the first half along with a 3-point dagger from sophomore guard Kenny Love at the buzzer gave the Pirates a 31-26 advantage after 20 minutes of play.

“We knew that their guards were really an area where we could try and get into the paint and free up things for others,” Love said. “Some of our basic sets where you throw it inside wouldn’t work so we tried to get some advantages there and that was one of them.”

After putting up 13 and six points respectively in the first half, Love and junior forward George Valle effectively took over the Pirate offense for the rest of the game.

Lewis & Clark would end up tying the game at 48 and taking a slim advantage off of a 3-pointer from second-team all-NWC guard Jason Luhnow at 8:08 to take a 51-50 lead. However, after a lay-in by Staudacher to retake the Whitworth lead, 52-51, the lead would never change again.

With the help of three 3-pointers from Luhnow in the last nine minutes, the Pioneers stayed within striking distance, but the performances of Valle and Love in the final 10 minutes made the difference in the end.

As Valle and Love continued to score, three steals and five blocks in the last six and a half minutes for Whitworth iced any chance of a Pioneer comeback. The game ended with the “Hack-a-Pirate” strategy for Lewis & Clark and the student section chanting, “I believe that we will win.”

Love led all scorers with 20 points while Valle, who was Mr. Consistent for the entire game, ended with 19. Valle said the multiple areas of talent from the guard position allowed Love and himself to be successful.

“Since we have so many good shooters, they don’t really like to help off of them if we put a good shooter in each corner. They can only help so much,” Valle said. “With that in their heads, Kenny and I are coming in with a full head of steam, attacking our defender and being able to create some good things.”

The Pirates clinched an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament with their ninth consecutive NWC Tournament crown. The Pirate matchup for the first round was announced on Monday. The men will take on LaGrange College in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, March 6.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Women's basketball ends tournament run with loss to UPS

The women’s basketball team suffered a defeat from the Puget Sound Loggers, 71-64, Thursday night. Their loss in the semifinal round ended the Pirate’s run in the Northwest Conference Tournament. The Loggers took control of the first half by taking an eight-point lead only five minutes into the game. The Pirates picked up their offense when freshman Callie Harwood scored a 3-pointer and helped bring the score within four..

“The excitement of the loud crowd and the vibrant atmosphere got [the Loggers] pumped up and it got us rushing things a bit,” head coach Helen Higgs said.

The Loggers were able to widen their lead by shooting 83.3% from the strike. By 7:38, the Loggers held a nine-point lead at 22-13. Whitworth once again attempted to even the score with the help of senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp who led the Pirates’ offense for the first half.

The Puget Sound lead varied throughout the first half, but was still in UPS favor, 34-29, at halftime.

The UPS lead diminished in the second half when the Pirates began to drain more shots. However, it did not happen right away. The half began with the Loggers scoring six points while the Pirates could only earn two.

At 14:11 the Loggers held their biggest lead at 48-33. Puget Sound held a strong lead until 9:03, when Harwood made a layup that started Whitworth’s comeback.

After numerous timeouts, the Pirates were able to slowly close the gap. In the two and a half minutes between 4:46 and 2:07, Whitworth was able to score 11 points, while the Loggers were only able to score three.

“We talked about extending the pressure, and then we ran a few sets, and we tried to get different looks at shots,” Higgs said.

With the help of junior guard KC McConnell, the Pirates were only behind by one point with a score of 65-64. Belton-Sharp also assisted in the comeback by scoring seven points in the second half.

The last two minutes of the game helped the Loggers acquire their victory. By hitting six free throws, UPS iced the contest with a score of 71-64.

George Fox defeated Whitman 78-64, so the Loggers and the Bruins will compete in the tournament final on Saturday night.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

 

Men's basketball defeats Willamette with five Pirates in double figures

A towel over the face of junior Willamette forward Brandon Luedtke with less than a minute to play said it all for the Whitworth vs. Willamette tournament game on Thursday night. Luedtke, an All-NWC First Team selection, fouled out with less than five minutes to play en route to an 89-64 victory for the Pirates in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament. Despite the one-sided end result, the No. 4-seeded Bearcats proved to be a tough bunch. A slow offensive start for the Pirates left Willamette leading 10-5, five minutes in.

However, with strong offensive play from senior forward Adam Wilks, the deficit was closed and the Pirates found themselves tied at 16 three minutes later. A pull-up 3-pointer from sophomore guard and NWC Player of the Year, Kenny Love, sparked a 5-0 run for the Pirates to put them up 21-18. They would retain the lead for the rest of the game. Wilks early performance foreshadowed the 52 points in the paint the Pirates would score in the matchup.

“[Senior forward Taylor Farnsworth and I] just bring a lot of experience. We’ve both been here before and when you have that kind of leadership on the front lines it can just steady the guys,” Wilks said. “When we don’t get off to a great start, when we have the ability to bring in myself, a senior off the bench, to just keep things calm and play our game it really is a huge advantage for us.”

A second pull-up Love 3-pointer would contribute to an eight-point Whitworth lead with six and a half left in the first. A lay-in from sophomore forward Christian Jurlina off a Bearcat turnover would be the only points for Jurlina in the first half. However, 12 points for junior forward George Valle and eight for Kenny Love in the first half were the beginning of a multidimensional scoring effort from all areas of the floor for the Bucs.

“I think the key to our offense recently has been how balanced it has been,” Valle said. “I think we had five guys in double figures tonight which means everyone is scoring, everyone is sharing the ball, passing the ball and getting good looks. I think that’s really the key as to why we’re being so efficient on offense.”

After generating a 43-29 lead at halftime, the Bucs continued their offensive onslaught with Wilks, Love, Valle, freshman guard Matt Staudacher and even Jurlina all reaching double figures by the end of the contest. Inspired performances from Luedtke with 12 and senior Bearcat forward Kyle McNally with 18 points and 10 rebounds would not be enough to overcome the Pirates’ 51.5% shooting from the field and 53.8% from beyond the arc.

Willamette came into the second half with spirited efforts on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor and the Bucs’ early attempts to increase the lead were stymied. However, a steal by Love three minutes in led to a one-handed dunk in traffic that put the ice on any potential Bearcat comeback.

“[The Bearcats] have a great heart. They continue to fight and they’re a hard team to put away which is why they made the playoffs in the first place,” head coach Matt Logie said. “We had a lot of respect for them coming in. We didn’t feel like we played our best in either of those previous matchups with them to date, but we were able to play a little bit better tonight.”

The closest the Bearcats would ever come was within 11, but no further. Love finished with 16, Valle with 19, Staudacher with 11 and Wilkes with 14. In addition, Jurlina highlighted the second half of play with another 14 points after just scoring two in the first half.

“They were playing pretty heavy denial on me [in the first half], but it actually worked out well because it opened up lanes and scoring opportunities for my teammates which is actually pretty good,” Jurlina said. “The second half they sort of stepped off a bit and gave me some space and I was able to utilize that to my advantage.”

Despite Whitworth foul trouble throughout the game, the only player in the game who would foul out would be Luedtke in the closing minutes. Missed opportunities from the 3-point line would prove costly for Willamette as well, going 3-19 from beyond the arc.

The Pirates advance to play upset-minded Lewis & Clark for the tournament championship after Lewis & Clark defeated No. 2-ranked Whitman, 84-73. The championship contest will be played on Saturday night in the Fieldhouse.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Men's tennis loses two more on road

The men’s tennis team lost both their matches on their trip to Oregon where they competed against Pacific University on Saturday and George Fox University on Sunday. Whitworth fell by a final score of 8-1 against Pacific in Forest Grove, Oregon.

“I think what happened is that we couldn’t break through at really big times,”  coach Mike Shanks said. “We played a little bit ‘not to lose’ opposed to aggressive at times.”

The Pirates lost all their doubles matches, and lost all but one singles game, as senior Matt Goebel won in a tiebreaker. However, the score was not as one-sided as the box score made it appear.

Junior Blake Miller and sophomore Shane Sandlin both had extremely close losses in three sets in their respective singles matches, while senior Chris Engelmann and junior Drew Adams lost their doubles match 9-7.

“We played hard today as a team, so we need to work on playing with the same intensity, but also hitting big shots at big times,” Engelmann said.

The Pirates are a team that Shanks said without a doubt has great potential. They need to keep working on playing with the correct mindset and that if the team starts playing with more confidence they are going to start winning much more, Shanks said.

Goebel was one player that reflected that potential, winning his singles match and losing 8-5 in his doubles match.

“I have to say that Matt Goebel was the standout performer of the day,” Shanks said.

On Sunday, Whitworth fell in a heartbreaker to George Fox 5-4 in Newberg, Oregon. The stakes were especially high for this matchup, as the two teams only meet once this season, unlike most other matches where the scores are aggregated from the two home and away competitions.

“It’s frustrating to lose 5-4, but it is such an improvement from the way we played against them last year,” Sandlin said.

The final results literally came down to a few points, which left players such as Sandlin feeling disappointed. However, the players and coaches saw major positives to take away from the team’s performance.

Junior Drew Brigham and Sandlin won their doubles match 9-8, and their respective singles matches. Adams also came up with a blowout win in two sets in his singles match.

The team improved greatly from their average performance against Pacific, with a much better effort on Sunday.

“I don’t know what happened last night, but something happened and today we came out to play,” Brigham said.

The team recognizes its progress as the matches go by, and they are staying focused on being positive and working on their game every day, Brigham said. Matches like these are reflecting the results.

“We’ve never come that close to beating George Fox,” Brigham said. “That is proof we can be a contender this year in conference.”

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

AQUAMAN: The story of a Pirate that almost never was

Junior Wes Walton is one of the most decorated swimmers on the Whitworth men’s swim team. He has already won eight individual Northwest Conference Championships during his three years at Whitworth and holds two individual school records in both the 200 backstroke and the 200 individual medley. He is now heading to the NCAA DIII Championships for the second year in a row. However, despite the ways in which he is thriving now, Walton actually left Whitworth as a freshman with no initial thoughts of coming back. In his first year at Whitworth, Walton said he was having trouble academically and did not know whether or not he was going to make it at Whitworth.

“Freshman year I really kind of sucked at school and had to take a year off of swimming. I transferred to Boise State thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can do this at Whitworth’ and stuff like that.’ So I went to Boise State, didn’t swim for a year and that’s how I got an extra year of eligibility,” Walton said. “I just took a year off and realized I wasn’t supposed to be in engineering like I was, switched to kinesiology at Boise, wanted to go back to Whitworth and here I am.”

Head Coach Steve Schadt ended up being a guiding voice in helping Walton get back on the right path for his life, but said Walton’s problems were complex.

“He had to figure out why he was in college and why he wanted to swim and if he was in the right major and he had to figure out the academic side of things. He was finding himself as a lot of freshman do,” Schadt said.

Due to this period in Walton’s life, Schadt said Walton has changed for the better.

“When he came back to us, he came back to us as a much more mature guy because he had gone through a lot of those life struggles that everybody has to go through,” Schadt said. “The Wes you see today as a junior is very different from the Wes as a freshman.”

Walton thrived from the start in his return to Whitworth. He took home NWC individual championships in his first year and made it to nationals in his sophomore athletic year. Walton, who was competitive from the outset, said practices are even an opportunity for him to compete.

“Even on stuff that’s not supposed to be race-pace, I always find myself racing everyone anyways. I don’t know why, it’s just what I do,” Walton said.

Freshman Jason Smith said Walton has been very friendly toward other members of the team and that Walton’s attitude in practice is a good one to be around.

“He always has a positive attitude about practice and he doesn’t complain when sets are hard. He encourages others when they need encouraging,” Jason Smith said.

Schadt said Walton’s competitive attitude in practice is something Walton has developed in the last few years.

“He’s always going to be ultra competitive, but I think as a freshman it was about results and stuff like that and as he’s matured as an athlete. I think he’s still hypercompetitive but he’s learning to enjoy the process that goes along with that and the day-to-day and the practices and the swimming,” Schadt said.

After a multitude of struggles in Walton’s first few college years, Schadt said he saw what he thought was Walton’s highest point, last spring.

“He saw 180-degree turnaround from his freshman year,” Schadt said. “He ended up being an NCAA qualifier and an Academic All-American and he was so excited about that. That Academic All-American was important, if not more important than being a national champion. He was just stoked about that, and worked really hard to get to that point. For him, I think that was vindication of where he had been before because he had to struggle to get there.”

After 12 consecutive NWC Championship seasons for the men’s team, Walton knew with the loss of a few members of the team that this year, things were going to be close.

“For me personally, I knew that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen this year,” Walton said.

Walton had a spectacular meet by winning all three of his individual events. He broke his own NWC record in the 200 backstroke after previously winning the 200 and 400 yd I.M. After Whitman’s team took the lead on Sunday and came away with the overall victory, Walton said he felt he could have gone a bit faster, even in record-setting 200 backstroke.

“I’m always super competitive and I’m always trying to go faster and faster so if I feel like I trained hard enough and the results don’t show it then I’m a little bit upset,” Walton said. “I’m always trying to go back to the races in my head and think how I could have done something different to go a bit faster.”

Walton will finish his third season at the NCAA DIII Championships in Shenandoah, Texas on March 19-22.

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Women's basketball drops to No. 3

Last weekend ended with the women’s basketball team achieving a crushing victory over the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes, 75-52 and suffering a defeat from the Puget Sound University Loggers, 82-78. The Friday night game against PLU started off with the Pirates gaining six points in the first two minutes. The Lutes were able to pick up two free throws but only at the expense of the Pirates scoring another six points.  By the first timeout at 14:03, the score was 12-2. Whitworth’s lead would not drop below 10 points for the rest of the game.

The Lutes had trouble handling the ball throughout the entire first half. They were unable to shoot or pass effectively, and ended up committing 19 turnovers by the end of the game.

Whitworth’s offense in the first half was led by junior guard KC McConnell with 14 points.

“Our offensive strategy was to move the ball around and to get as many hands on the ball as possible. When we got our defense moving, it seemed to work for our offense,” senior forward Lexie Zappone said.

The first half ended with the score at 38-12, but the Lutes buckled down on their accuracy and scored 40 points in the second half. Senior forward Jessica Kramer helped the Pirate offense by shooting back-to-back baskets from the field before retiring from the game after her fourth personal foul.

“Our defense is what definitely got us going. We tried to make them take shots that they’re not comfortable with,” coach Helen Higgs said.

The Pirates were able to score 37 points in the second half and ended the game with a score of 75-52.

The Saturday night game against the Loggers began on a high note for the Pirates.  McConnell and senior guard Kendra Knutsen were able give the Pirates a four-point lead less than five minutes in. By the first timeout at 10:53, Whitworth held the lead at 15-11.

However, once the Loggers scored seven points and took the lead at 7:39, it was a fight for the lead for the rest of the half. The first half ended with the Loggers in the lead, 36-30.

“The combination of their balance and actually hitting their shots was hard for us to defend,” junior reserve Faith Emerson said.

The Pirates struggled to keep up with Puget Sound in the second half, trailing by as many as 14 points at 8:17. Knutsen was able to bring the heat on offense and score 19 points in the second half. A narrow victory seemed within the Pirates’ grasp after senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp drained a 3-pointer, narrowing the gap to only five points with 21 seconds left on the clock.

“We wanted to use a quick trap to see if they’d turn it over. If they got through that then we’d just foul them so they’d have to come down and shoot free-throws and we would gain possession and score,” Kramer said.

The Pirates were unable to win or tie the game after giving the Loggers three points in free throws.

Whitworth lost their No. 2 seed in the NWC and finished the weekend with a record of 12-4 in the conference. The Pirates will face the Loggers again on Feb. 26 for the NWC Tournament Semifinals.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Baseball closes out weekend with victory

Whitworth hit the road last weekend to Parkland, Washington for a three-game set with conference opponent Pacific Lutheran. The Bucs lost both games of the doubleheader on Friday before rebounding with a beat-down of the Lutes on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday morning, the games were moved up to Friday and Saturday to avoid a rainy forecast for later in the weekend.

Coming into the weekend, the Lutes were ranked 19th overall, according to d3baseball.com’s rankings with a 12-5 record. The Pirates entered the weekend with a 10-6 record, having taken two of three games in both of their conference matchups the past two weekends.

The story for Whitworth to this point in the season has been the offense and its ability to put runs on the scoreboard, averaging just shy of nine runs per game. Last weekend against the Lutes, the Pirates put up a total of 12 runs in three games—including a game in which they were shut out.

In the Friday doubleheader, the Pirates managed to scratch across two runs in the first game—losing that game 4-2—and none in the second game—losing 2-0.

“Our defense kept us in both games, but our inability to capitalize and put up runs sealed our fate in those two losses,” senior infielder Nick Motsinger said.

The scoring drought appeared to be short-lived as the Bucs bounced back on Saturday for the final game of the series with 10 runs, propelling the Bucs to a 10-4 victory. Whitworth knocked the ball around the park on Saturday with 13 hits, five of which were doubles. Junior Jeremy Druffel clubbed a home run in the game: a two-run shot in the top of the first inning after the leadoff hitter, sophomore Dalton Carter, reached base on a walk.

Whitworth senior Cory Mack had his best outing of the season on the mound in the Saturday game, going for six and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs—only one of which was earned—and recording seven strikeouts.

“It’s nice to get back to old form. I’ve struggled this year so far, but I worked on my mechanics this week and it paid off for me this weekend,” Mack said.

The Whitworth pitching staff held the Lutes to only 10 runs over the course of the weekend, and only seven of those were earned runs. Especially strong for Whitworth were the efforts they received in relief.

Senior Tyler VonDracek pitched two and a third innings of relief in the first game of the weekend and didn’t allow a single hit or run. In the second game of the Friday doubleheader, senior Nick Scourey came on in relief and allowed only one run and three hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.

In the final game of the weekend, senior Carson Blumenthal earned his third save of the season after going two and one-third innings of no-hit baseball, racking up four strikeouts as well.

“We all threw really well this weekend. We haven’t thrown to our potential this year, but after this weekend I think we are on the right path,” Mack said.

The Pirates return to Merkel Field on Saturday and Sunday for a three-game set against the University of Puget Sound, with the first game set to start at noon on Saturday.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Basketball splits last regular season home games

NOTE: The version of this story that appeared in Issue 9 of The Whitworthian incorrectly quoted Head Coach Helen Higgs as saying, "We were playing hard, but we were running around without any direction." The quote should have read, "We were playing hard, but we were running around without much direction." The article in this online edition reflects this change.  

The women’s basketball team battled through some close games last weekend. The Friday night match entered an intense overtime and ended with the George Fox University Bruins’ narrow win, 53-52. The next day, the Pirates achieved victory against the Pacific University Boxers, 66-58, and ended the weekend with a record of 11-3-0 in conference play.

The Friday night game demonstrated how evenly matched the Bruins and Pirates were with each half ending with one team ahead by only one point.

The first half began with both teams scrambling for a solid lead. Whitworth managed to pull ahead with the help of junior forward KC McConnell and held a small lead for most of the first half. However, George Fox was able to make a comeback and end the half with 23 points and a one-point lead.

Head coach Helen Higgs trained the Pirates to avoid a repeat of the last George Fox game, which resulted in a dramatic 70-39 defeat.

“We attacked their zone a little bit smarter this game, so we got a little bit better shot selection,” Higgs said.

Whitworth’s defense had a rocky start in the second half, allowing George Fox to hold their lead with a score of 31-24. But the Pirates soon took charge with help from senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp, scoring six baskets from the field as well as a 3-pointer.

“We definitely emphasized defense in practice. This week especially, if you missed the box-out, you had a set of lines, or you were pulled from the drill,” Belton-Sharp said.

The Pirates’ offense improved in the second half and put up an additional 29 points for the Bucs. However, the Bruins success on offense continued as they scored 28 points during the half and tied the game at 51-51.

The match on Friday night progressed into overtime due to a last-second, crowd-electrifying 3-pointer from Belton-Sharp to tie the score. George Fox scored a field goal 40 seconds into overtime. Whitworth was able to answer with a free throw, putting them within one. With only a minute left, the Pirates attempted to take the lead, but were unable to convert on their final play and score a last-second 3-pointer.

The game ended with George Fox winning, 53-52. After this weekend, George Fox’s women’s basketball team has a record of 13-0.

The game on Saturday night against Pacific did not start off in Whitworth’s favor. In the first two minutes, the Boxers started off strong and scored six points. While the ball seemed to stay on Whitworth’s side of the court, Pacific’s offense scored quickly on each of its possessions.

Whitworth was able to score 22 points in the half, but its defense was lacking. Despite McConnell’s 3-8 shooting, the Pirates were behind after allowing Pacific to score 29 points in the first half.

“We got angry that we were down at half. We played passive in the first half, so we just buckled down on defense,” McConnell said.

The Pirates turned the tables on the Boxers for the second half by tying the score five minutes in. After senior guard Lexie Zappone hit a 3-pointer, putting Whitworth ahead, the Pirates held onto their lead for the rest of the game.

“Our focus was the first thing that changed [in the second half], and then our energy together.  We came together as a team, and we picked up our defense, which led to our offense,” Zappone said.

Zappone and McConnell carried the team in the second half scoring 22 and 17 points, respectively, en route to a 66-58 victory.

“We talked about being more focused, mentally. We were playing hard, but we were running around without much direction. You have to think about what you’re doing,” Higgs said.

Pacific University left Whitworth with a record of 5-8-0.  Next weekend the Pirates will face the Pacific Lutheran Knights in Parkland, Washington, and the Puget Sound Loggers in Tacoma.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Men's tennis falls in second contest

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.”

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer