The No. 11 University of Redlands men's tennis team took on No. 14 Middlebury College (VT) in a non-conference bout on Verdieck Courts but came up short against the Panthers in a gut-wrenching 4-5 defeat on Tuesday. The Bulldogs gained a 4-2 advantage but saw the opponents storm back to win the final three matches, two of which went the distance in three sets.
Middlebury struck first by winning at the No. 3 slot in doubles but Redlands answered with a pair of victories in the remaining matches. The top tandem of sophomores Gram Leahy (Portland, OR) and Patrick Lipscomb (Irvine, CA) evened the overall score with an 8-4 performance. At No. 2, sophomore Nick Cummins (Rancho Mirage, CA) and senior Connor Hyde (Peterborough, NH) clawed their way back to capture a 9-7 triumph while regaining the momentum for the Bulldogs.
Although the Panthers answered with a solid showing at the No. 2 slot in singles, the Maroon and Gray responded with back-to-back wins of its own. Lipscomb knocked off the 20th-ranked opponent at No. 1, prevailing by scores of 6-2, 6-2. In addition, sophomore Taylor Hunt (Seattle, WA) came off the No. 4 court with an impressive 6-4, 6-0 performance to make it 4-2 for Redlands in the overall match score.
Needing just one more point to secure the hard-fought victory, Redlands saw Middlebury pull one back with a straight-set effort at No. 5.
With two matches remaining, the Bulldogs nabbed the first set in both showdowns. However, the Panthers had other plans, rallying back to win in three sets while handing a tough loss to the Maroon and Gray.
Redlands (9-7) returns to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition with Friday's home tilt against the Poets of No. 26 Whittier College at 2 p.m.