CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Twenty-seventh ranked Whitman overcame deficits of 2-1 after doubles competition and 4-3 in the closing stages of singles to post a 5-4 victory against Texas-Tyler in the opening round of the NCAA Division III 2014 tournament at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.
Three-set singles triumphs by Allie Wallin and Jenna Dobrin helped push the Missionaries, ranked No. 4 in the West Region, over the top.
"Texas-Tyler is such a tough team," Whitman coach John Hein said. "We knew coming in that they were one of the best teams in the country not [yet] in the top 30. They brought it, especially in doubles. It was fun and intense."
Whitman will oppose regional host Claremont-M-S, No. 1 in the West and fifth-ranked nationally, 1 p.m. ET Saturday in a round-of-32 match.
Friday's match started in promising fashion for the Missionaries. Wallin and Morgan Lawless earned an 8-4 victory in No. 3 doubles to give Whitman an early edge.
But Texas-Tyler won both the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles contests to claim its first edge 2-1.
Courtney Lawless, the West's third-ranked singles player, got the Missionaries even with a quick 6-3, 6-0 singles victory at 1-singles. Erin Bell followed that up with a decisive 6-2, 6-2 triumph at No. 4 to put Whitman in front again 3-2.
However, Texas-Tyler wrested back the lead 4-3 with a pair of singles wins to set the stage for a dramatic finish.
Wallin dropped the opening set of her singles match 6-3 at No. 5 before storming back for 6-4, 6-0 victories in sets two and three, respectively, leaving only one more match on the courts with the team score knotted at 4-4.
Dobrin won the first set 6-4, but dropped set two 7-6 after letting a double-match point situation (6-5, 40-15) and a triple match-point scenario (6-3) in a tiebreaker slip away.
Dobrin responded to her missed chances and posted an overwhelming 6-0 decision in the deciding frame to push Whitman into the next round.