The No. 11 University of Redlands men's tennis team headed to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Saturday morning for the semifinal of the 2017 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship Tournament against the 12th-ranked Sagehens. However, Mother Nature had other plans for the day, as wet weather forced the matches to be relocated to the Indian Wells Tennis Club.
The Bulldogs refused to let the unfamiliar setting faze them, as they knocked off Pomona-Pitzer for the second time this season, with Saturday's result coming by a score of 5-3. This pitted Redlands against No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges for the conference championship. Despite storming out to a 3-0 lead through the doubles, the Bulldogs' momentum stopped there, as the Stags responded by winning the first five singles matches off the court in a hard-fought battle.
In the Maroon and Gray's first match of the day, the Sagehens nabbed the opening win at No. 1 doubles before Redlands rallied for an 8-3 victory by the No. 2 tandem of sophomore Chase Lipscomb (Irvine, CA) and freshman Brad Cummins (Rancho Mirage, CA). The Bulldogs gained the slight edge at No. 3, as seniors Parker Wilson (Carlsbad, CA) and Tom Suchodolski (Amherst, MA) pulled out a 9-7 win.
The match score quickly became knotted at three apiece, as Pomona-Pitzer notched singles victories at Nos. 6 and 1, while Wilson came away with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph at No. 2 for the Bulldogs.
A short time later, the Bulldogs squared off against the CMS Stags in the championship showdown. Riding high from the earlier victory, the Maroon and Gray impressed with a doubles sweep. Lipscomb and Cummins set the stage with their 8-3 effort at No. 2, while Ly and Dulle defeated their No. 1 opponents by a score of 8-6. Wilson and Suchodolski kept things rolling at No. 3 with their 8-3 victory.
With a 3-0 lead, Redlands worked to snag at least two of the six singles matches but it was not to be. CMS came out firing and effectively recorded straight-set wins at Nos. 2, 4, 6, and 3 for a 4-3 advantage.
Although Lipscomb pushed his No. 1 counterpart to go the distance in a three-setter, he ultimately lost by scores of 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2, which gave the Stags the deciding point.
Redlands (16-7, 8-2 SCIAC) finishes second in the SCIAC standings and now awaits the NCAA's announcement about a possible at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Championships. Team selections take place on Monday, May 8, on NCAA.com.