by Jimmy Chau
Still getting adjusted to playing without reigning conference player of the year, Amalia Nilsson, the Pioneers struggle to close out games and fall 8-1 to defending champion Whitworth University.
The Pioneers learned a lot about themselves and what they’re made of even in the wake of a seemingly easy victory by the Pirates. Playing with confidence and ready to step up to the challenge of having everyone move up in the lineup, these Pioneers would not go away without a fight. The most exciting match of the day came from the doubles flights. Senior Lisa Harunaga and Isabelle Borris raced out to a 5-0 lead against Alli Marshall and Erica Bosman with a seemingly endless supply of untouchable drop shots. Being champions, the Whitworth pair would not give up and dug deep to take the match all the way into a tie-breaker that would be one for the ages. Both teams would go back and forth earning match points only to watch the other team battle back to even up the score. Aggressive net play that earned match points seemed to be wiped away by errors that would let the other team back in it. In the end, it was the Pirates who came out on top in a thrilling 9-8 (13-11) victory that left both sides cheering for the effort put forth. Most of the singles action wasn’t as close except for the exceptional play of Isabelle Borris who continued her hot hand and seemingly had an answer for everything Mya Towne had for her today. “It was the best that I’ve ever seen Izzy play period,” said coach Chau. Another bright spot for the Pioneers was the play of junior Whitney DeBree. Having a tough time getting started in the first set and falling 6-1 to Marshall, DeBree found her range and came out with a whole new level of intensity and determination in the second set. Coming up big in a couple tight situations, DeBree pulled out the second set 6-4 and raced to an early 3-0 lead in the third before Marshall found some momentum and rallied to win the match in a 6-4 third set. Overall, the Pioneers were happy with the way some players were able to step up their games to better competition and look forward to more challenges in the near future.
The ladies take on the Whitman Missionaries on Saturday at 2 pm.