By Jimmy Chau
The young and short-handed Pioneers had another rough day of tennis against perennial Northwest Conference powerhouse Pacific Lutheran. Playing a rare double header, the Pios drop two to the visiting Lutes. The Pioneers started the day with a jolt of bad news. Number one player and team captain, George Allen woke up with sharp pains to his already injured foot and a trip to the ER took him out of this weekend’s action.
Trying to dismiss the distraction of a fallen teammate, the Pios fought hard but ultimately fell to the Lutes in the days’ first match 8-1. Highlighting doubles play was the Japanese pair of Wataru Nakamura and Junya Furukawa at number two doubles. The pair were up 5-2 before Brent Smoots and Taylor Dickey rallied to take the match 9-7. Untimely errors and unlucky bounces really changed the momentum of the match and Pacific Lutheran was able to capitalize. Coach Chau was really pleased with the way the two are coming together and playing as a cohesive unit. “Hopefully, this will be the catalyst that gets the duo going”, he said. In singles action, Wataru continued his strong play and had his most competitive match of the year. After taking the first set 7-5, he couldn’t hold on to his lead and fell 6-4 and 6-0 in the final two. Appearing in his first match of the season, Amory Parker tallied the lone point for the Pioneers with one of his trademark comebacks. Down 5-2, Amory took his game to the net and to the next level with smart approach shots and penetrating volleys to post a 10-8 win.
In the most impressive team effort coach Chau has seen in a very long time, a tired but eager LC team took on a different looking lineup in the second match of the day. The Pioneers fell victim to the Lutes again by the same count 8-1, but this match was much closer than the final score indicated. PLU continued their strong doubles play as the reigning Fall ITA championship duo of Justin Peterson and Joel Trudel rolled to an 8-0 victory over Peter Ray and Amory Parker. In the number two doubles slot, the pair of Nakamura and Furukawa continued to show improved play and inched closer to notching their first victory together this season. They almost rallied back to take a doubles point from Michael Manser and Scott Sheldon, but fell 9-8 (7-4) in a tie-break. In singles action, Quinn Roth-Carter came up with his most impressive win yet, a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ben Fox. The pair traded big serves and heavy ground strokes for most of the match, but Roth-Carter stayed calm and finished out the set and the match with steadier play. In the toughest and closest match of the day, Peter Ray dueled Michael Manser in the number one slot long into a tense third set tie-breaker. Coming back after dropping the first set 6-2, Ray stepped up his game to knot up the match at a set a piece. Trading breaks throughout the third set, neither competitor could gain an edge, so a tie-breaker would decide the match. Ray stormed out to an early lead and had match points, but for the second time today, this time in singles, Manser was able to pull out his match in the tie-break 8-6. “We definitely need to work on being more aggressive and closing out individual matches, but today’s effort really showed the promise and heart that I knew this team had all along. We have a lot of great things we can take from this match”, said Chau.
Lewis & Clark’s next match is against the Linfield Wildcats in McMinnville on Saturday at 1 pm.
Facing An Unexpected Scratch, The Pios Fall Twice To The Lutes In A Double Header