A pair of University of Redlands women's tennis student-athletes embarked upon the NCAA Division III Individual Championships on Thursday in an exciting first day of action at the Champions Club in Chattanooga, TN. Sophomore Elizabeth Johnson (Portland, OR) and freshman Sarah Ikioka (Wailuku, HI) added All-America honors to their already impressive season by securing an opening round victory in doubles action.
While playing as an at-large qualifier, the dynamic duo took on Mikey Barthelmass and Ashnaa Rao of Johns Hopkins University (MD) in the first round. After dropping the first set, 3-6, the Bulldogs settled down to find their rhythm in impressive fashion and fired off a pair of 6-1 showings for the successful comeback.
With the first-round win at the NCAA Championships, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) awards All-America accolades to Johnson and Ikioka for the Bulldogs' seventh and eighth such honor since 2012-13.
Redlands' tandem is one of four from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) to advance to the quarterfinal of the national doubles tournament. The talented Bulldogs look forward to squaring off against the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater's Megan Humphreys and Bridgid McGuire at approximately 12 noon PT on Friday. Humphreys and McGuire knocked off the fourth-seeded team from Williams College (MA) in three sets.
Earlier in the day, Ikioka battled through nerves in her first NCAA experience when she took on top-seeded Eudice Chong of Wesleyan University (CT) in the opening round of singles. Unfortunately, she was unable to pull off the upset in a 6-2, 6-0 loss.
For complete results of the NCAA Championships, please visit NCAA.com.