The No. 23 University of Redlands women's tennis team posted split results on the opening day of the 2012 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship Tournament on Friday, earning a spot in Saturday's third-place match against host Cal Lutheran University. The Bulldogs cruised to a 5-0 victory in their opening contest against Whittier College to move onto the semifinal round against No. 14 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges. Redlands rallied all the way back from three points down against the Sagehens, only to see the upset slip away in a three-set loss in the deciding match.
The Maroon and Gray jumped out to an early 3-0 lead against the Poets by sweeping the doubles matches. Sophomore Jessica Ly (Torrance, CA) and junior Shannon Cassidy (Yuba City, CA) set the tone with their 8-2 triumph at the No. 1 slot, while freshmen Ceara Sumida (Hilo, HI) and Julia Pollak (Holland, PA) followed suit at No. 2 with their 8-2 performance. Sophomore Paige Press (La Jolla, CA) and freshman Maddie Morton (Henderson, NV) preserved the sweep with an 8-3 showing at the No. 3 position.
Redlands' domination continued in singles with Morton and Pollak wrapping up the team's win with straight-set efforts at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. They dropped only one game between the two of them in their four total sets.
The Bulldogs put up an incredible effort against the 14th-ranked Sagehens but missed the mark in a narrow 4-5 loss. After losing all three doubles in an uncharacteristic sweep, Redlands faced an uphill battle.
However, the Maroon and Gray came storming back. Pollak remained impressive with her 6-0, 6-1 showing at the No. 5 slot before the Sagehens answered with a solid performance at No. 2.
Trailing 1-4, the Bulldogs looked to Morton to put together a solid 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 4. Press and Cassidy also took care of their respective counterparts in straight sets, resulting in an amazing comeback to tie it up.
With the match coming down to the No. 1 singles match, the two players provided plenty of drama by forcing a third set to decide it all. Unfortunately, the Sagehens prevailed, leading to the heartbreaking 4-5 loss for Redlands.
Redlands (13-7, 6-3 SCIAC) returns to action on Saturday at 10 a.m. when it takes on the Regals of Cal Lutheran for third place in the SCIAC Tournament.