WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- In a match-up of nationally-ranked opponents, the winning team came down to the final match's third set. Following Wiktoria Plawska's victory at No. 1 singles, Tash Hood lost in the third set of the dual-deciding match as the Lewis & Clark Pioneers fell 5-4 to the Whitman Blues on Sunday at Bratton Indoor Tennis Center.
After taking the first set 7-6 with a 7-5 tiebreaker, Hood lost the last two, 7-5, 6-2, to Lori Sheng in the No. 5 singles spot.
The pivotal match came after the dual moved to a 4-4 tie when Plawska won a top singles match that lasted more than three hours. Plawska defeated Andrea Gu, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, to improve to 4-4 in Northwest Conference singles matches this season.
Prior to singles, Hood and Plawska had already played a lengthier doubles match, losing to Sheng and Gu, 9-8.
The loss drops Lewis & Clark to 3-2 in the NWC. Last season, the Pios beat Whitman twice, including a 5-4 road win against the Blues that helped secure Lewis & Clark as the host for the NWC tournament on its way to winning the conference championship.
Whitman is now 9-0.
Natalie Kelly was efficient with a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 6 over Jenna Gilbert. She also combined with Christine Eliazo for an 8-2 win over Allie Wallin and Gilbert in the No. 3 doubles spot. Plawska's match took so long that Kelly, who had to wait for two courts in the four-court venue to open up from the first four singles matches, was done before Plawska's match ended.
After taking two doubles matches and Kelly's singles match, the Pios had a 3-1 lead. In the No. 3 singles position, Eliazo lost 7-5, 6-3 to Wallin, which is Eliazo's first career loss in an NWC match. She entered the dual 24-0.
Incerpi lost 6-4, 6-3 to Greenberg at No. 4 for her first NWC loss of the season.
The weekend was the first for the Pioneers with only one match since the spring season began. Lewis & Clark plays at Willamette on Saturday before departing for a four-match trip to Ohio to play four nationally-ranked opponents.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Sunday
Pacific Lutheran 8, Willamette 1