The No. 22 University of Redlands men's tennis team battled it out with the No. 21 Caltech Beavers in Saturday's opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match on Verdieck Courts. After gaining a 4-1 lead, the Bulldogs had to fight tooth and nail to secure the deciding point, which came on sophomore Brysl Libao's (Redlands, CA) No. 5 court in thrilling fashion.
The Maroon and Gray began the day with an excellent showing in the doubles action. The No. 1 tandem of Libao and junior Brad Cummins (Rancho Mirage, CA) impressed with a solid 8-4 win over a formidable team. Senior Chase Lipscomb (Irvine, CA) and junior Andrew Leahy (Claremont, CA) kept things rolling with their 8-5 victory at the No. 3 slot. First-years Andrew Yip (Honolulu, HI) and Thomas Reznik (Belmont, CA) rallied back to snag an 8-7 (4) decision at No. 2 for the Bulldogs' sweep of the doubles.
After the Beavers jumped on the board with a straight-set win at No. 2 singles, Redlands stretched its advantage to 4-1 when Reznik recorded an impressive 6-2, 6-1 result at the No. 3 slot.
However, Caltech refused to go away and clawed its way back into the match, beginning with a straight-set win at the top of the lineup. The Beavers also prevailed in a pair of three-setters to even the tally at four-all.
The deciding point came down to No. 5 singles, with Libao representing the Bulldogs. After losing the opening set in a tiebreaker, Libao kept his eyes on the prize and methodically took the second set, 6-4. During the third, he stormed out to a 4-1 lead but his counterpart answered the call and got the game back on serve. With Libao leading 5-4, he managed to come up with a huge break for the thrilling win.
Redlands (8-3, 1-0 SCIAC) faces No. 20 Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) on Tuesday, April 2, at 3 p.m. in what promises to be another exciting match on Verdieck Courts.