RICHARDSON, Texas - A win is a win, but a 5-4 Whitman College women's tennis victory over UT-Dallas late Thursday in Richardson, Texas, followed a storyline that was anything but routine.
After beating Hardin-Simmons, 9-0, earlier in the day, Whitman raced away to a 5-0 lead over UT-Dallas - clinching the team victory - but then dropped the last four decisions in singles in third-set super tie-breakers.
The 5-4 victory, which wasn't as close as the final score indicates, extends Whitman's winning streak to 10. The loss was the first of the season for the 5-1 Comets.
Whitman, now 10-2 on the season and ranked No. 10 in the West Region, grabbed an early 3-0 lead by sweeping all three matches in doubles.
Olivia Bates made it 4-0 Whitman with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Stephanie Lu at No. 6 singles.
First-year Missionary Courtney Lawless then clinched the team triumph with a 6-3, 6-0 over Jean-Jean Gwo at No. 2 singles.
All four of the singles matches still in progress went to a third set.
Because the team result was no longer in doubt, the four third sets were played as abbreviated first-to-10 super tie-breakers.
In a battle of juniors at No. 1 singles, Rachel Houston rallied for a 1-6, 7-5, 10-8 victory over Whitman's Alyssa Roberg.
Mandy Tiu also rallied to win 4-6, 6-2, 12-10 at No. 3 singles, beating Morgan Lawless, one of Whitman's first-year players.
Megan Tan for UT-Dallas and Kate Kunkel-Pattereson for Whitman battled at No. 4 singles with Tan emerging at the end with a 6-3, 2-6, 11-9 decision.
Cindy Tie, a Comet sophomore, got the best of Whitman's Emily Rolston at No. 5, winning 6-2, 36, 10-5.
The three opening matches in doubles were not especially close.
Roberg and Courtney Lawless were 8-3 winners at No. 2 doubles and Kunkel-Patterson joined first-year teammate Sara Finkleman to win by the same margin at No. 3.
Morgan Lawless and Rolston had an easy time at No. 2 doubles, winning 8-2.
Earlier in the day, apart from one three-set match in singles and one close battle in doubles, Whitman breezed to its ninth straight victory by blanking Hardin-Simmons, 9-0.
After splitting the first two sets with her opponent, Genene Haddad, at No. 3 singles, Whitman's Kunkel-Patterson dominated the third-set tie-breaker, winning 10-1.
The most competitive match in doubles came at the No. 3 spot, where Lizzy Schiller and first-team teammate Erin Minuth got past Amelia Chaney and Tram Le by an 8-6 count.
Courtney and Morgan Lawless won straight-set decisions in the top two spots in singles.
Courtney Lawless posted a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Lauren Jay at No. 1 singles, while Morgan Lawless won 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 2 slot.
Maddy Webster, another of Whitman's first-year players, cruised past Kelsi Jackson 6-2, 6-2 at No. 4 singles, and it was Schiller rolling over Chaney 6-2, 6-1 at No. 5.
Hadley Scherer survived a close first set to beat Le 7-6, 6-2.
Whitman's other wins in doubles included an 8-3 victory at No. 1, where Courtney Lawless and Roberg knocked off Jay and Haddad 8-3.
Webster teamed with Hannah Palkowitz at No. 2 doubles to blank Jackson and Morgan Rainier 8-0.
After a short break, Whitman returned to the courts to face UT-Dallas for a second Thursday match.
Whitman continues its Spring Break trip today, when it plays No. 8 UT-Tyler.
The trip ends on Saturday when the Missionaries battle No. 2 Trinity. In addition to its regional standing, Trinity is also ranked No. 13 at the national level.