Lake Forest defeated Grinnell College 5-0 in Thursday's Midwest Conference Tournament final and qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history.
The Foresters and Pioneers reached the final by blanking St. Norbert College and Cornell College 5-0, respectively, earlier in the day. They were meeting in the conference tournament for the fifth time in the last six years with four finals match-ups during that span.
Lake Forest started the contest with a sweep of doubles, taking all three matches by the same 8-5 score. Senior Allison Watts and sophomore Tyranny Miller at #2 were the first to finish, followed by sophomore Julie Lord and junior Leeza Bodnar at #1 and finally the #3 duo of freshman Tebatso Duba and sophomore Emma Wang.
All six singles matches started at approximately the same time. Lord, Duba, and Bodnar took their opening sets 6-1 at #1, #3, and #4, respectively, while Grinnell came out on top in the first set at the other three spots in the lineup. Bodnar did not drop a game in set two, quickly pulling the Foresters to within a point of the tournament title. A few minutes later Duba finished off a 6-1, 6-2 triumph at #3 and the celebration was on.
The Foresters, who were listed as the 13th-ranked team in the Central Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association earlier in the afternoon, improved to 21-3 on the season while the Pioneers finished the year 16-9.
The bracket for the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament will be announced on ncaa.com on Monday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m.