The No. 33 University of Redlands women's tennis team rallied back to snag third place at the 2017 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship Tournament on Saturday. After falling to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the semifinal match, the Bulldogs stepped up to secure the 5-1 victory over Caltech for third place in a hard-fought battle that took place between raindrops on Verdieck Courts.
In the early match, the Sagehens jumped on the board first with an 8-5 effort at No. 2 doubles but the Maroon and Gray answered right back when the top tandem of freshman Sarah Ikioka (Wailuku, HI) and sophomore Elizabeth Johnson (Portland, OR) prevailed by a score of 8-4.
Although Pomona-Pitzer earned a slight 2-1 advantage with a win at No. 3, the teams headed into singles amidst a competitive showdown.
But the Sagehens remained in front with wins at Nos. 3, 4, and 5 to hand Redlands a tough loss.
Nonetheless, Ikioka offered a bright spot with her impressive performance at the No. 1 slot, as she led 6-4, 5-4 when the match was decided.
Redlands returned to action later that afternoon by taking on Caltech in the third-place match. The Bulldogs created great momentum by sweeping the doubles matches for an early 3-0 lead. The No. 2 duo of senior Emily Murnin (Salt Lake City, UT) and freshman Jackie Lacy (Palm Desert, CA) set the tone with a dominating 8-0 win. Ikioka and Johnson rallied back from a 1-5 deficit to win 8-6 at No. 1 before sophomore Kate Dolan (St. Louis, MO) and junior Claire Bohoskey (Yakima, WA) completed the quality start for Redlands by capturing a 9-7 triumph.
With a 3-0 lead, the Bulldogs needed just two singles matches to secure the win. Caltech hauled in the first singles victory to make things interesting for the home team.
Amidst a back-and-forth battle with incredible points, Ikioka pushed past her No. 1 counterpart in a 6-3, 7-5 decision. Finally, sophomore Madison Ross (San Diego, CA) closed out her efficient 6-1, 6-1 showing at No. 6 to put this one in the books for the Bulldogs.
Redlands (10-11, 7-3 SCIAC) holds out hope for possible consideration at the NCAA Championships as a team or as individuals. The NCAA's announcement is scheduled for Monday, May 8.