CLAREMONT, Calif. — After falling behind 3-0 in doubles, the Whitman College women’s tennis team could never climb back into the match and saw its season end in a 5-0 loss to No. 11-ranked Redlands in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
The 17th-ranked Missionaries finish the season with an 18-4 record.
Redlands claimed its first win in doubles when Natalie Etchegaray and Paige Press defeated Maddy Webster and Morgan Lawless, 8-2.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 2-0 when Maddie Morton and Gabriela Vasquez warded off Kate Rubinstein and Katrina Allick at No. 3, trailing 7-6 before breaking and holding to retake the lead 8-7. They broke, again, to take the highly contested match, 9-7.
At No. 1, Whitman’s Courtney Lawless and Alyssa Roberg fell behind 6-3 to Jessica Ly and Ceara Sumida before mounting a comeback and forcing the match to a tiebreaker. Having spent most of their energy during the comeback, the Missionary duo fell in the tiebreak, 7-3.
Redlands earned its fourth point when Morton defeated Rubinstein 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5 singles, and ended the match when Sumida earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 3 over Morgan Lawless.
At that point, Courtney Lawless was leading Ly at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 3-4. Etechegaray took the first set against Roberg, 7-5, and led in the second 1-0 at No. 2. At No. 4, Whitman’s Jenna Dobrin had just won her first set against Julia Pollak, 7-6, and Press was leading Kate Kunkel-Patterson 6-3, 4-3 at No. 6.
The loss concludes a rewarding season for the Missionaries that saw them go undefeated in the conference regular season (12-0) and capture their first outright conference title since 1988, along with winning the Northwest Conference Tournament and touting the unanimous NWC Player of the Year in Courtney Lawless, and NWC Coach of the Year in John Hein.
Courtney Lawless and Roberg still have some collegiate tennis to play this spring; Lawless qualified in singles for the individual NCAA Championships, held May 23-25 in Kalamazoo, Mich., and will partner with Roberg in doubles, as the duo earned a spot in the national field.