By Giancarlo Santoro, sports writer
Looking to build off of their first Northwest Conference win of the season the previous week, the Pacific Lutheran University men’s tennis team came up short against 12th-ranked Whitman, losing 8-1 at the Sprinker Recreation Center.
“Playing against Whitman was very tough,” said sophomore Brandon Bulaclac. “Being a top ranked national team, they didn’t even have to play their best lineup to beat us … we actually played them pretty tight.”
With the loss, PLU falls to 1-4 overall and in conference, while Whitman looks to keep moving up the NCAA Div. III rankings with a perfect 6-0 record in NWC and 8-3 overall.
“Whitman just proved to be too deep for us tonight,” said PLU head coach Rocky Poulin. “We paddled as much as we could but couldn’t close out points like we hoped to.”
The doubles round was rough on the Lutes as Whitman’s Christensen and Jake Hoeger defeated first years Sam Stadter and James Okubo 8-5 in the third matchup to get the Missionaires off to a 3-0 lead.
The sole consolation for the Lutes came in the singles round when season debutant and sophomore Jeremy Marsh defeated Whitman’s Jacob Christensen 6-4 and 6-2 in two sets to spoil a Whitman shutout. It was Marsh’s first competitive match this spring.
“For me personally, the Whitman match was a confidence booster,” said Marsh. “Rocky (Poulin) moved me up to varsity for the first time this season, so I was eager to prove myself and I ended up winning my match to give us our only point.”
The Lutes return to action on Saturday against Whitworth at Sprinker.