PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark men's tennis team nearly pulled out a win against the Whitworth Pirates at home on Friday afternoon. The Pioneers fell to the Pirates 5-4 in both teams Northwest Conference opener.
Doubles action started the afternoon with a tightly contested match at #3 doubles. The team of Ryotaro Tokura and Cole Pfeiffer dropped serve at 5-6 and couldn't find their way back into the match and dropped the first point of the contest which would turn out to be big for the Pirates. Kevin Ross and Daniel Hahm were overwhelmed by a very active team of Cameron Williams and Drew Brigham in a match that was tighter than the end score of 8-3.
With the LC bleachers packed and the team already down 2-0, the #2 doubles team of Carter Gee-Taylor and Scott Monismith gave the crowd something to cheer for as they stepped up big in the closing moments to secure a 9-7 victory to spark LC's comeback bid.
Quickly regaining control for the Pirates was Drew Brigham who dismantled Gee-Taylor in a 6-0, 6-2 route. In the first riveting match of the night, Kevin Ross and Whitworth's Cameron Williams gave the crowd all it could handle. With both players chasing down balls from wild angles and perfectly placed lobs, the crowd was treated to a very entertaining match in which Ross ended up dominating 6-2, 6-1.
In a match of back and forth's, the Bucs again extended their lead with a win when John Talbot scored a victory over Pfeiffer 6-3, 6-3. Up 4-2 and with three matches to be settled, the Pirates were looking good while needing only one more victory to secure the match.
Another talented freshman for the Pioneers, Daniel Hahm pulled out the second singles win for the Pioneers after a close second set with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) win over Chris Engelmann. For those watching, it seemed like the evening had just started.
Needing to secure the final two matches for a come from behind victory, Monismith seemed like he was in prime position to secure one of those points being up a set and 4-1 in the second. Matt Goebel had gone up big on Tokura as he was up a set and 4-1 in the second. Then the momentum changed wildly on both courts one and two. All of a sudden, Blake Miller picked up his game and cruised to five straight game to take the second set.
With #4 singles going into a third set, Tokura did the same and dug deep on his own streak of five straight games to send his match into a deciding third set. LC would strike first and secure early breaks, in both matches. Monismith would secure a huge break in the ninth game of the third set and ended up serving out the match to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to even up the dual at 4-4.
The season opener would come down to the last match of the evening at #6 singles in the third set. Goebel would pick up his game to edge out to a 5-3 lead. Tokura, giving his all and dropping to his knees several times during the set would hold his own serve but could not hold off the big serve of Goebel as he took his match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to secure the team win for the Pirates.