What’s not to like about a two-week spring break? The team had a solid week of play (well, actually – two weeks with CMS, Trinity, UC Santa Cruz on campus early in the month) and now a week of much-needed R & R! The only drawback is that I’ve been too busy with the R & R part to update the blog…sorry, but this is going to be a long post!
Chapter 1 – Women’s Basketball and The Best Volunteer Ever!
We started off spring break with matches in Tacoma against conference opponents PLU and UPS. Since we were near SeaTac airport, I arranged the schedule so we could play our conference matches and then fly to California for our next set of matches. I even arranged for good friend and Whitman Cross Country coach Scott Shields to travel with us so that he could bring the Whitman turtletop van back to campus. However, our amazing women’s basketball team threw a wrench into my carefully crafted plans. Because our women’s basketball team is so amazing, they were selected to host the first two weekends of the NCAA tournament! Such an awesome experience for the women’s team and they made the most of it, advancing all the way to the National Championship finals where they lost to FDU. Their run to the finals was even more special for our team since they are our sister team and we do a lot of activities together.
Since women’s basketball was hosting, Scott, who is a senior athletic administrator, had to stay on campus for the games. On very short notice (two days) the BEST volunteer EVER Tom Sawatzki made the trip with us. Tom is also the coordinator for our […]
What a fantastic past week for Whitman tennis. On Monday we had the official opening of our new courts — and boy are these courts awesome. I’ve played/coached many places and I’ve never seen such a beautiful setting for tennis. The courts were opened just in time as we were slated to host the Northwest ITA/USTA regional tournament on Friday. I had many a sleepless night wondering if the courts would be done in time for the tournament.
For the ITA /USTA regional tournament teams are assigned how many players they get into the main draw based on last year’s conference finish. As the top team in the conference we were slotted 8. However we are 13 deep this year so we had to put 5 players into qualifying. Really too bad for these players as many of them can compete with the #1’s from any team in the conference. On Friday the 5 Whitman qualifiers all ran through their qualifying matches without dropping a set (Will Huskey, James Rivers, Joey Diaz, Parker Silverman, and Jacob Christensen).
There are far too many matches to highlight but let me say the Whitman players pretty much dominated the event. In singles we had 9 of the final 16 players and all 4 singles semi-finalists. In doubles we had 4 of the final 8 teams and both finalist. It was SUCH a gratifying experience to see all the men on the Whitman team battle (and defeat) the top players from the other schools. One of the best moments of the weekend was Sunday morning when, about the same time, Whitman players knocked off higher seeds in three sets — freshman Petar Jivkov won had a wonderful match against one […]
What an interesting start to a match. At 4pm the weather was beautiful — highs in the 60’s and clear blue skies. However as the match progressed Mother Nature decided to get into the act and kicked in some high winds. You know the wind is bad when you need to pick up twigs and broken branches off the court on change-overs. The wind certainly added to the excitement of #3 doubles as Steven Roston and Will Huskey played one of the more thrilling tiebreaks I have witnessed. In the end the PLU #3 got the upper hand winning 14-12 in the tie-breaker! As a team we managed to gain a 2-1 lead after the doubles with Matt and Conor winning 8-6 at #1 and Andrew and James winning 8-1 at #2.
With the gutsy winds and drop in temperature we decided to move the singles indoors. Our past weekends of intense competition have certainly sharpened everyone’s game as we cruised through the match without dropping a set. Singles match of the day goes to Will Huskey who overcame a break in the 2nd set to win 7-5, 7-6.
Interesting stat of the day — Conor now sits at 98 wins! Today when we play UPS he has a chance to join the exclusive Whitman Tennis Century Club! Looks like high winds will force our 1pm match against UPS indoors. Those in Walla Walla should drop by the courts to watch us try to knock down the Loggers.
Whitman 8 PLU 1
Conor Holton-Burke/Matt Tesmond def Ah Yat/Dickey 8-6
James Rivers/Andrew La Cava def Cotton/Olson 8-1
Steven Roston/Will Huskey lost Berg/Herron 9-8 (14-12)
Conor Holton-Burke def Ah Yat 6-4, 6-3
James Rivers def Cotton 6-2, 6-2
Adriel Borshansky def Dickey 6-1, 6-0
Steven Roston […]
What a wonderful (and long) weekend. Tonight we got the opportunity to follow-up our victory over UC Santa Cruz with a match against conference opponent George Fox. In the NWC conference Fox is a program that is on the rise — in fact earlier in the day they won 2 matches against UC Santa Cruz. Before the match we had a team meeting to talk about the importance of this match how it can be a defining moment for our program. In past years we have had good (even great) wins but followed them up with less than stellar performances. In our defense we are almost always play those “big” matches on the road and often in the middle of a long spring break trip. This was a great opportunity for the team to learn how to respond to a “big” win in the comfort of playing at home. Another thing about this year is we have several weekends of great opportunities. In addition to this weekend, we are traveling to Mary Washington to play three very good DIII teams (Mary Washington, Kalamazoo, and Rhodes). We also travel to Los Angeles for matches against Trinity, CT and a very good Whittier team. Having all these great weekends really takes the pressure off the team. Unlike past years we have multiple shots at nationally ranked programs.
One aspect of this weekend that could be overlooked is the play of Steven Roston, Will Huskey, and Colton Malasovas. Interestingly enough these three played more matches than our normally starting line-up. One of the reasons we had a good win against Santa Cruz is because of their unselfish efforts and great play. All three of them gained valuable experience […]
Yesterday we played DI Eastern Washington University on their home courts. For the record let me say that this is not an easy place to play. Its a big multi-purpose, box like facility, with very quick courts. Interestingly the Seattle U women were scheduled to play EWU Saturday night in Cheney but refused to play in the fieldhouse so that match was moved to a club in nearby Spokane!
The final score shows EWU getting the better of us 5-2. However this was one close match! It was nip and tuck the whole match. At one point in the doubles, I was thinking we might sweep all three of the doubles. However the sweep was not to be as Conor/Matt got broke the last game to drop their match 8-6 (#1 doubles). At #2 doubles Andrew/James went up breaks two different times and ended up closing out their match 8-6. Since we played DI rules (1 point for the majority of the doubles) the doubles point came down to #3. At #3 Steven and Colton played wonderful tennis. In fact at different spots in the match they both ended up serving for win. They also had a match point while returning. Kudos to the EWU team — when they were down (and what looked like out) they played their best tennis and earned a tough 9-8 victory.
I’m incredibly proud of the effort and intensity the team showed the entire match. Great support up and down the line-up and all the guys hustled and competed the entire match. You know it’s a special effort when the opposing coach comes into our team post-match conversation to compliment our effort!
In singles Andrew had a great win at #1 defeating […]
Today we had a heck of a battle against DI Gonzaga. Even though GU won 6-1 (we used DI scoring) the match was very competitive. Doubles match of the day goes to Conor/Matt at #1 — they saved 3 match points to post a 9-8 (7-0) victory. At #2 Jeff/Andrew got down an early break and never recovered losing 6-8. And at #3 the freshman duo of Colton/James were up a break at 4-1 before losing a heartbreaker 9-7.
In singles our only victory was #3 where Jeff played very solid tennis winning 7-6, 6-4. Will (#4) continued his strong play dropping a hard fought match 6-2, 5-7, 11-9. James (#5) also dropped a close three set match 2-6, 6-4, 10-7. Interesting that yesterday we won two third set matches and today we dropped both of the 3rd set matches.
Tomorrow we wrap up our Hawaii swing with a free day. Lots of sunshine, beach time, and exploring before we head back for the start of a new semester.
Whitman 1 Gonzaga 6
1 Matt/Conor def Oliver Jamin/Alvaro Nazel 9-8
2. Jeff/Andrew lost Scott Sullivan/Zhia Hwa Chong 8-6
3. James/Colton lost Levin Guillermo/Muzeen Ismath
1. Andrew lost Nazal 6-4, 6-0
2. Conor lost Guillermo 6-0, 6-2
3. Jeff def Jamin 7-6, 6-4
4. Will lost Mijatovic 6-2, 5-7, 11-9
5. James lost Sullivan 2-6, 6-4, 10-7
6. Colton lost Chong 6-1, 7-5
First off what an amazing week. We are so fortunate to be able to make this Hawaiian trip prior to the start of the school year. We have had some great practices and bonding time that will make us stronger and create tighter team bonds. Major thanks to the Rivers family. They have gone above and beyond in hosting us this week — amazing accommodations, support, and unbelievable food — from breakfast, lunch to dinner. Simply amazing!
Today we started off our season against Hawaii Pacific University (ranked #22 in DII). I was incredibly happy with the maturity and competitive spirit of the team. Honestly this might be one of the most mature wins I have seen out of a Whitman team. The guys battled from start to finish and never panicked (even when down 3-4). (more…)
News Release Date:
Monday, January 2, 2012
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — The Whitman College men’s tennis team gets an early jump next week on pursuit of its fifth straight conference championship.
While the rest of the Northwest continues its shiver through the dead of winter, coach Jeff Northam and 11 of his players are ticketed for a week (Jan. 7-14) of training and matches in Hawaii.
“The NCAA exemption allows us to take a trip before the next semester starts, and we’re taking advantage of that,” Northam says.
“This will be the earliest we’ve started our spring season in my time at Whitman,” he adds. “It’s a great opportunity for a good week of training before classes get started again.”
Matches slated thus far pit Whitman against two NCAA Division II teams, Hawaii-Pacific and BYU-Hawaii. Northam also hopes to schedule at least one more match.
“This trip is a testament to the great alumni support our program receives,” Northam says. “That support makes a huge difference in keeping these trips affordable and providing a great experience for our student athletes.
“One of our freshmen (James Rivers) is from Hawaii, and his family is also giving us a place to stay for the week.”
Sam Sadeghi, a junior, is the only player unable to make the trip. He plans to spend the week studying for his Medical School Admission Test (MCAT). (more…)