Two three-set wins in the final two matches propelled the Hope College women’s tennis team back to the NCAA Division III Championship.
The 34th-ranked Flying Dutch rallied to defeat Kalamazoo 5-4 in the title match of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament on Friday at VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts.
Hope (18-4 overall) won the final two matches of the day in three-set thrillers. The Flying Dutch will learn their postseason assignment on Monday, May 9.
The decisive point came at No. 4 singles where junior Kate Mader of Granger, Indiana (Penn HS). She outlasted Siani Johnson for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.
Natalie Rahrig of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Bishop Luers HS) tied the score at 4-4 with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory at No. 5 singles against Katie Clark.
Top-seeded Hope won four of the six singles matches after trailing 2-1 following doubles play.
At No. 2 singles, senior Anna Garcia of Battle Creek, Michigan (Lakeview HS) topped Sabrina Dass 6-0, 7-5.
At No. 6 singles, freshman Taylor LaBarge of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) beat Sonal Bahl 6-3, 6-0.
The Flying Dutch’s doubles point came from an 8-4 win from Rahrig and freshman Catherine Wingrove of Okemos, Michigan (Okemos HS) at No. 3 doubles.
The victory was the third for the Flying Dutch against Kalamazoo (11-11) this season.
The MIAA Tournament title is the fifth in a row for Hope and seventh overall.
This will be the Flying Dutch’s fifth consecutive NCAA championship appearance and 11th overall.
In the semifinals, Hope defeated Saint Mary's 5-0.