REDLANDS, Calif. (May 6, 2017) – The Caltech women's tennis team recorded its best finish in program history, placing fourth in the conference and at the SCIAC Championships.
The Beavers guaranteed the historic finish in advancing to the semifinals by virtue of their 5-1 opening-round victory over #5 seed California Lutheran University on Friday. Head Coach Mandy Gamble's squad then fell to national No. 1 and undefeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in the morning before facing host No. 33 University of Redlands in a match that was far closer than the 5-1 final score would indicate.
Sophomore Julia Reisler (Plano, Texas / Greenhill) and freshman Angelica Zhou (Temple City, Calif. / Arcadia) got off to a blistering start and held a 5-1 lead on the Bulldogs' fourth-ranked doubles tandem in the West region. Meanwhile, Redlands took a commanding lead at #2 and went ahead by an early break at #3. The hosts went on to claim the first point of the match at court #2 and doubled the lead when their #1 pairing recovered to win seven of the final eight games in an 8-6 victory. Senior Sophia Chen (Newport Beach, Calif. / Corona Del Mar) and rookie Alexandra Bodrova (Russia / Kurchatovskaya School) fought back on serve at the final court but were unable to pull out the win, going down on a late break, 9-7.
With only five courts available and the match played to decision due to weather, Caltech was able to sneak in a singles victory before play ended. Bodrova earned the honors with a 6-3, 6-2 win at #4 before sophomore Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) bowed out of a superlative match at #1 against West No. 10 Sarah Ikioka, 6-3, 7-5. The Bulldogs would pick up the final point to clinch the match at #6, stopping play with Zhou in a third set, Reisler entering a third and junior Erin Wang (Auburn, Calif. / Del Oro) on serve in the second looking to force another third.
The Beavers close out the season with their first winning record since 2014 and first .500 mark in SCIAC play since 1995. Zhou (11), Bodrova and Wang (10) all reached double-digits in wins, with Moriyama and junior Vinci Chen (Austin, Texas / Westwood) also posting winning records at 9-8 and 4-2, respectively, in dual matches. Both rookies proved to be key additions as they contributed heavily to the team's most successful lineup spots at #3 and #4 singles, while Moriyama and Reisler combined to win the third-most matches at the top two slots (13) of any other Beavers tandem in program history.