May 8, 2009

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The University of Texas at Tyler handed Whitworth a 5-0 setback on Friday in the Pirates' first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III women's tennis tournament at Pomona-Pitzer.

Whitworth was swept in the three doubles matches, then fell at #1 and #3 singles. All the rest of the singles matches were suspended.

While Beth Launius and Michelle Hagler rolled to an 8-2 win over Rachel Burns and Alli Marshall at #1 doubles, the Patriots had to work hard to win the second and third doubles matches.

Linh Aven and Mya Towne came back from a 5-2 deficit to get back on serve at 6-5 in the #2 match. But Lauren Nielson and Sydni Hermsdorf won the final two games to pull out the 8-5 victory.

Whitworth's Katie Staudinger and Justine Hays led 6-5 in the third doubles match, but Brittany Ude and Lauren Giovannini won the final three service games for a 3-0 Tyler lead after the doubles.

Launius defeated Burns 6-0, 6-1 at #1 singles to put the Pirates on the brink. Nielson then ended the match with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Aven at #3 singles.

Whitworth finished its best season in more than a decade with a 21-5 record. The Pirates rolled through the NWC regular season with a 16-0 record then won the conference tournament.

Texas-Tyler will play the host Sagehens in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.