The University of Redlands women's tennis team traveled to nearby Claremont for the 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Fall West Regional Championships on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. While gaining quality experience, the Bulldogs put together a strong showing that was highlighted by a pair of doubles duos advancing to the final of the second-round consolation bracket.
Sophomore Sarah Ikioka (Wailuku, HI) and junior Elizabeth Johnson (Portland, OR) met up with freshmen Karen Kobayashi and Lexi Lehman (Scottsdale, AZ) for an all-Bulldog final that was won by the veteran tandem, 8-5. Ikioka and Johnson won their opening-round match, 8-3, over Pomona-Pitzer Colleges' Rebecca Salaway and Alexandra Ferry before coming up short in the subsequent match against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges' Juliette Martin and Lauren Yamagani. This sent Ikioka and Johnson into the second-round consolation bracket, where they knocked off Cal Lutheran University's Sarah Seeman and Nicole Neumann, 8-0. They continued to cruise in the next round with an 8-1 effort against Tanima Joshi and Chiaria Schwab from CMS to move onto the final against their teammates.
Kobayashi and Lehman made the most of their first-ever Bulldog opportunity by defeating the UC Santa Cruz duo of Sabela Brown and Kayla Manz, 8-5. Following a tough 8-1 loss to the two-seed team of Emily Chen and Maryann Zhao of Pomona-Pitzer, the Bulldog tandem advanced to the subsequent round due to a withdraw by the opponents. The team met up with Redlands' junior Kate Dolan (St. Louis, MO) and sophomore Jackie Lacy (Palm Desert, CA) and came away victorious by a score of 8-1, which moved Kobayashi and Lehman onto the final against Ikioka and Johnson.
In addition, Ikioka advanced to the Round of 16 as the most successful Bulldog in the main singles draw. She cruised by UC Santa Cruz's Kayla Munz, 6-1, 6-2, before topping Pomona-Pitzer's Jay Kim, 6-4, 6-3. She fell to CMS' Anastasia Bryan-Ajania, 6-1, 6-2, to end her solid run.
Lehman also put together a strong outing in the singles competition by moving on to the semifinal of the second-round consolation bracket. She blasted CLU's Taylor Marie Campbell in the opening match, 6-0, 6-0, before coming up short against Pomona-Pitzer's Summer Gavison. She prevailed over UCSC's Vera Smekalina and Chapman University's Vasilisa Trofimova to move onto the semis. Although she ran out of steam against Santa Cruz's Ashley Isaac, 6-3, 6-4, she walked away with a high-quality experience in just her first opportunity as a Bulldog.
Redlands looks forward to the annual alumnae match on Saturday, January 27, before hosting a pair of exhibition matches against Arizona Christian University and Azusa Pacific University on Saturday, February 3.