The University of Redlands men's tennis team battled through a season of trials and triumphs that left it with an 11-7 overall record and a 4-3 mark for fourth place in a highly-touted Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). Among the highlights, the Bulldogs traveled to three different states, produced an All-American, received a pair of All-Conference honors, and developed the first-year class with incredible opportunities throughout the campaign.
During the fall season, junior Chase Lipscomb (Irvine, CA) represented the Bulldogs well at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Regional Championships by winning the singles title in impressive fashion. This gave him an All-America nod and a spot at the ITA Oracle Cup in Rome, Georgia, where he finished the tournament in fifth place to match his pre-tournament seeding.
After splitting a pair of early-spring exhibition matches, the Redlands men's tennis team headed north to Walla Walla, Washington, to take on quality in-region opponents at the indoor competition. A 3-6 loss to No. 14 Whitman College (WA) inspired the squad to quickly regroup during the following day, which led to a 7-2 win over Trinity University (TX) in comeback fashion. Despite winning only one of the doubles matches, the Bulldogs effectively shut down the Tigers in singles, with individual victories by senior Joey Dulle (St. Louis, MO), Lipscomb, sophomore Andrew Leahy (Claremont, CA), and first-year Cameron Krimbill (Scottsdale, AZ).
The Maroon and Gray also prevailed over the Lewis & Clark College (OR) Pioneers by a score of 8-2 off a doubles sweep that included quality contributions from senior Cooper Lacetera (Westhampton Beach, NY) and first-year Brysl Libao (Redlands, CA).
In mid-February, Redlands returned home to Verdieck Courts to face Colorado College before opening conference competition against Occidental College. The Bulldogs dominated both Tiger foes by a combined score of 17-1. In the sweep over Colorado, junior Tom Hanley (Winnetka, IL) and Dulle joined forces at No. 2 doubles for an 8-2 win and then went on to produce the same results in the conference opener.
The team had the privilege of traveling to St. Peter, Minnesota, for the ITA National Indoor Championships in late February and came home with another win over Trinity. This time, the Bulldogs captured all three doubles points, as highlighted by a stellar rally from the No. 2 tandem of Lipscomb and Libao. In addition, these Bulldogs came up big in the singles competition to seal the Maroon and Gray's 8-1 win.
The month of March began on an impressive run that included three victories over out-of-area opponents. First, the team knocked off No. 16 University of Mary Washington (VA), which consistently brings its "A" game to Redlands. While winning two of the three doubles matches, the Bulldogs efficiently put this one in the books with four singles wins en route to a 7-2 decision. Libao and Lipscomb set the tone early with their 8-3 triumph at No. 2 doubles, while Dulle and sophomore Brad Cummins (Rancho Mirage, CA) prevailed at the top slot, 8-5. In singles, Cummins secured the deciding point with his 6-2, 7-5 effort at No. 6.
Redlands also captured 8-1 wins over No. 30 Christopher Newport University (VA) and No. 32 Swarthmore College (PA) with consistency on the tennis courts.
Unfortunately, the team endured off-court trials that affected the remainder of the season with canceled contests and a smaller roster. Despite the obvious disappointment, the situation allowed for first-year members of the team to really step into huge on-court roles in a unique silver lining.
The Bulldogs battled in SCIAC to register wins over Chapman University, Cal Lutheran University, and Whittier College, which placed them fourth in the SCIAC standings. Against the Panthers, Redlands used its depth in singles to secure the 7-2 victory, as Lipscomb, Libao, and first-year Mauricio Orozco (Cancun, Mexico) put this one in the books with quality results. After facing a 1-3 deficit against CLU, the Bulldogs rallied back with efficiency in straight sets in five singles matches. Once again, Orozco came up with the clincher at No. 5, as he topped his opponent by scores of 6-4, 6-4. Redlands' season came to a close with the final SCIAC match of the year, which began with a 2-1 lead in doubles over the Poets. Lipscomb and Libao impressed with their 8-2 performance before Krimbill and first-year Noah Morrow (Lakewood, CA) registered an 8-3 win at the No. 2 slot. With similar scores throughout the lineup, the Maroon and Gray gained triumphant results in all five singles matches to take home the 7-2 final.
Following the conclusion of the season, the Bulldogs learned that Lipscomb and Krimbill each landed on the All-SCIAC First Team due to their success in singles and doubles. Lipscomb shored up the No. 1 slot in singles for the third season in a row and put together a 12-6 overall mark, while Krimbill went 13-3 at No. 2 in his inaugural year at Redlands. Lipscomb and Libao proved to be a formidable duo that took over the No. 1 slot and finished the season with a 12-5 mark, as Krimbill teamed up with Lacetera and Morrow for a 13-4 showing.
Furthermore, Krimbill and Libao represented the Maroon and Gray among the ITA's academically acclaimed as Scholar-Athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher.
Although the year finished in an unexpected way, the Redlands men's tennis team showed grit, skill, and heart throughout the 2017-18 campaign. With the return of a talented crew that remains hungry for success, the Bulldogs strive to start anew in the coming season.