The seniors on the 2018 Webster University women's tennis team left in the same fashion as they arrived, as St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champions. Seniors Monica Behrle, Robin Bolme, Jesse Steffens-Willis, and Jordan Struckman finished their collegiate careers on top after the Gorloks 5-3 come from behind win against Westminster College in the championship match.
Westminster took two of three doubles matches, just as they did during the teams regular season meeting. The Blue Jays #3 doubles team of Laural Royer and Meaghan McGuire jumped out to a 4-1 lead in their match before holding on for an 8-5 win. The Gorloks had closed the score to 4-3 and Webster was just one point away from equalling the score but the Blue Jays battled back to force deuce and eventually win the set and maintain their lead.
The #2 team of Payton Beeler and Sydney Attebery fought their way to an 8-5 win as well. Webster was tied with Westminster in the match 5-5 after breaking the Blue Jays serve but Blue Jays duo responded with a gritty performance and getting two balls that hit off the top of the net that dropped for key points to give them a 6-5 lead. Attebery hit back to back cross court shots and then closed out the win with a rocket down the middle of the court that split the Gorlok pair.
The lone win in doubles for Webster came at #1 with Monica Behrle and Madison Watts teaming up for an 8-2 victory. Behrle and Watts played an aggressive match, moving up towards the net with both playing in front of the midcourt line and forcing the Blue Jays team to attempt lob shots over their defense. Watts closed out the set win with a shot that kept the Gorloks from getting blanked in doubles play.
Singles action was tight as well between the two championship representative teams. Behrle dispatched of her opponent at #1 singles 6-1, 6-1 to bring the team score even at 2-2. Payton Beeler put Westminster back up with a 7-5, 6-1 win at #6 singles but Maggie Federhofer quickly responded with a 6-2, 6-2 Webster win at #5 singles.
With the team score tied at 3-3, the crowds' attention turned to the middle courts where three matches remained and one team needing two victories to secure a championship. It looked like Attebery would put Westminster up after jumping out to a 7-6 lead after the opening set. However, Madison Watts fought her way back, winning the second set 6-4, and forcing a third set.
In fact, it was almost in unison when the Gorloks final three players all turned up their games. Just moments as Watts was fighting her way back into her match Jesse Steffens-Willis and Sara Rice, who were both down 3-2 in their second sets, made moves to take their own leads. Playing at the #3 singles position Steffens-Willis continued to flip shots over the net, forcing a tiebreaker in the second set. She finished off the win with a slam to wrap up the match 6-3, 7-6 and put Webster on top 4-3 in the team scores.
While Attebery and Watts continued their epic battle at #2 singles, the #4 match between Sara Rice and Alexa McPherson rolled on. After Rice won the opener McPherson responded with a 6-2 win to force a third set. Trailing 2-1, Rice won back to back games to take a 3-2 lead and would not look back. With emotions and nerves running high Rice closed out the match by winning the final three sets. Rice opened the final game with an ace and kept the momentum rolling on her way to championship point.
The championship is Webster's 4th in program history and their first since 2015.
Greenville University defeated Principia College in the 3rd place match earlier in the afternoon.