NWC TOURNAMENT: Three Ranked Teams, Playoff Rookies Chase Women’s Net Title

The Linfield Tennis Center will provide the venue for the 2017 NWC Women's Tennis Tournament Saturday-Sunday, Apr. 22-23, in McMinnville, Ore.
The Linfield Tennis Center will provide the venue for the 2017 NWC Women's Tennis Tournament Saturday-Sunday, Apr. 22-23, in McMinnville, Ore.

HILLSBORO, Ore. – A trio of nationally-ranked teams and one program making its first post-season appearance since the Northwest Conference went to a four-team playoff format will compete for the NWC Tournament championship this Saturday-Sunday, Apr. 22-23, at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore.


Saturday's semifinals begin at 10:00 a.m. with top-seeded Linfield taking on fourth-seeded George Fox University, followed by second-seeded Whitman College against third-seeded and defending NWC Tournament champion Lewis & Clark College.  The two winners will meet Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for the crown, with the champion receiving the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III National Tournament in May.


The official NWC Tournament page is available on the Linfield athletics web site at http://www.linfield.edu/sports/2017nwcwomenstennis.html.


2017 NWC Tournament Schedule


Saturday, Apr. 22 - Semifinals

Match 1: 10:00 a.m. - #1 Linfield vs. #4 George Fox

Match 2: 2:00 p.m. - #2 vs. #3 Pacific Lutheran 

Sunday, Apr. 23 - Championship

Match 3: 10:00 a.m. – Winner of M1 vs. Winner of M2 


No. 1 Seed: Linfield Wildcats (15-4, 11-1 NWC)


vs. George Fox (2-0): W 9-0, @ W 7-2

vs. Lewis & Clark (1-1): @ W 6-3, L 4-5

vs. Whitman (1-0): @ W 5-4


Linfield owns 10 NWC championships, including seven in a row from 2002-08, and last won the crown in 2012.  The Wildcats have played in all six of the previous NWC Tournaments under the current format.  In the latest Oracle / Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, Linfield is ranked No. 29 nationally and No. 5 in the West Region.  In singles, Ella Riddle is ranked sixth in the region and Elsa Harris is 24th, while the doubles pair of Riddle and Harris, who won the Pacific Northwest Fall ITA Regional, is 11th.  Linfield has four singles players with double-digit wins in dual matches, led by Riddle's 11-0 record at #1.  Sarah Sweet is 13-2 primarily at #6, with Harris 10-4 at #1 and 2 and Riley Clayeux 11-5 at #2 and 5.  Riddle and Harris are 7-3 at #1 doubles while Marisa Doveri and Michelle Ly are 10-3 at #3.     


No. 2 Seed: Whitman Blues (13-5, 11-1 NWC)


vs. George Fox (1-0): W 7-2

vs. Lewis & Clark (1-0): W 5-4

vs. Linfield (0-1): L 4-5


Whitman has won six NWC titles in its history, taking three in a row from 2013-15 before being upended last year by Lewis & Clark.  The Blues have appeared in all six of the previous NWC Tournaments since the current format began.  Whitman is the highest-ranked NWC team nationally at No. 24 and is No. 6 in the West Region.  In singles, Andrea Gu is 16th in the region and Mary Hill is 20th, while in doubles, Hill and Hanna Greenberg at 13th.  Five Blues have won 10 or more dual matches, led by Lori Sheng at #5 singles with a 15-4 record.  Greenberg is 14-5 at #4, Hill is 13-5 at #2, Allie Wallin is 13-6 at #3, and Gu is 11-8 at #1.  In doubles, Gu and Sheng at 10-3 at #2, Hill and Greenberg at 9-7 at #1, and Wallin and Jenna Gilbert are 8-5 at #3.


No. 3 Seed: Lewis & Clark Pioneers (12-3, 10-2 NWC)


vs. George Fox (2-0): @ W 9-0, W 9-0

vs. Linfield (1-1): L 3-6; @ W 5-4

vs. Whitman (0-1): @ L 4-5


Lewis & Clark ended Whitman's three-year reign as champion in last year's tournament, giving the Pioneers their 11th title that included a string of nine straight wins from 1971-79.  The Pioneers are appearing in their fourth NWC Tournament under the present format and their third in a row (the other was in 2013).  Lewis & Clark is ranked No. 25 nationally and No. 7 in the West Region.  Wiktoria Plawska, the Pacific Northwest Fall ITA Regional champion, is rated eighth in the region, and Josie Legarza is 21st, with the doubles team of Legarza and Kacey Incerpi ranked 12th.  In dual matches, Christine Eliazo is the Pios' top winner at 11-2 at #3 singles, while Plawska is 9-5 at #1, Chloe Sermet is 9-2 at #4 and 5, and Natasha Hood is 8-4 at #5 and 6.  Incerpi and Legarza are 5-4 at #1 doubles and Plawska and Eliazo are 8-1 at #2.


No. 4 Seed: George Fox (11-9, 7-5 NWC)


vs. Lewis & Clark (0-2): L 0-9, @ L 0-9

vs. Linfield (0-2): @ L 0-9, L 2-7

vs. Whitman (0-1): @ L 2-7


George Fox is making its first appearance in the NWC Tournament since the league went to its current four-team format in 2011.  The Bruins just missed out last year when they had the fourth-best record in the conference in dual matches but lost out to Whitworth University for the final playoff spot based on the championship points system currently in use.  George Fox is ranked No. 13 the West Region, with Sarah Tuemmler ranked 11th in the region in singles.  Tuemmler leads the Bruins with a 13-7 record at #1 singles in dual matches, followed by Andrea Motley at 10-8 at #4 and 5, and Catrina Kwong at 8-10 at #2 and 3.  The Bruins' top doubles team is Kwong and Kristen Mock, who are 8-10 at #2.