Competing in the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time since 2010, the 11th-ranked University of Redlands women's tennis team captured a 5-0 win over No. 17 Whitman College (WA) in the opening round on Friday at nearby Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. The Bulldogs created great momentum by winning all three doubles matches before earning two straight-set showings in singles to secure a spot in the second round against No. 10 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.
Against the Missionaries, Redlands looked to the stellar play of sophomore Julia Pollak (Holland, PA) and freshman Natalie Etchegaray (Placentia, CA) to initiate the scoring. The duo put together a solid 8-2 performance at the No. 2 spot.
Striving to grab the doubles sweep, the Bulldogs forced a tiebreak at the top slot in a tightly-contested battle between the regional rivals. Sophomore Ceara Sumida (Hilo, HI) and junior Jessica Ly (Torrance, CA) stepped up their play to earn a 5-1 lead in the extended set before nabbing the exciting 9-7(3) victory.
Up by a score of 3-0, Redlands sat in prime position and needed only two of the six singles matches. Morton continued to impress by knocking off her No. 5 opponent in fine fashion, 6-0, 6-0. Sumida then officially sealed the win for the Maroon and Gray with her 6-2, 6-1 triumph at the No. 3 position.
With the win, Redlands registers its inaugural 20-win season in the history of the program with a 20-3 record thus far.
The Bulldogs look forward to facing Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) rival, Pomona-Pitzer, in a rematch on Saturday. The teams take the courts at CMS at 2 p.m. Fans may follow the action via live stats and video streaming.