After wrapping up the regular season undefeated in the SCIAC, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s tennis team will head into postseason play as the No. 1 seed. The Stags (22-1, 7-0 SCIAC) defeated Occidental College (3-15, 1-6 SCIAC) and Point Loma Nazarene University (6-14) at home on Saturday, April 12 to continue their eight-game winning streak. CMS had their 11th sweep of the year against the Oxy Tigers, and defeated the Sea Lions 8-1.
Starting the day off for the Stags in doubles were Nik Marino CM ’15 and Zhenya Pereverzin CM ’14, who swept their opponents 8-0 at No. 3 to set the tone for the rest of the match.
Joe Dorn CM ’15 and Warren Wood CM ’15 followed at No. 1 with an 8-0 sweep of their own. Wood went on to beat his opponent in singles, while only giving up one game the entire match.
Neel Kotrappa CM ’14 and Skyler Butts CM ’16 capped off the Stags’ success in doubles with an 8-3 win at No. 2.
CMS then saw outstanding performances from all of its singles players. At No. 2, Marino—the only Stag to play four total matches on Saturday—dominated his opponent and gave up only one game in the first set.
In competitive spirit, Marino requested to play in both matches to make up for the ones he missed when he was injured back in late March.
“I’m just trying to get a few more matches under my belt before Nationals start,” Marino said.
Head coach Paul Settles has no doubt that Marino will be ready when the time comes.
“To see him win, really comfortably, two matches in the same day was definitely one of the highlights,” Settles said.
Daniel Morkovine CM ’17 beat his No. 3 opponent 6-2, 6-0. Also making appearances in the match were Bryan Mehall HM ’16 at No. 4 and Rohan Shankar HM ’17 at No. 6, who defeated their opponents in two decisive sets. Finishing the match for the Stags was Kotrappa, who won 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5.
Against Point Loma Nazarene, ranked seventh in the Division II West Region, the Stags started the match hot in doubles to once again show where their biggest strength lies.
“Our doubles looked fantastic,” Settles said. “That’s going to be the key for us going really deep in the postseason. [They] will put us in a position to win every match.”
Dorn and Wood gave up only a set in their win against the No. 13-ranked doubles team in all of DII. Marino and Pereverzin at No. 2 and Kotrappa and Butts at No. 3 gave CMS the 3-0 lead going into singles, each with 8-3 wins.
Max Macey CM ’17 came in to play at the No. 6 singles spot with a decisive win, giving up just two games to his opponent, both in the first set. Glenn Hull CM ’17 also played a strong match at No. 5 with a 6-3, 6-0 win.
These two first-years, along with the six other underclassmen, have been consistently working hard in practice to earn their playing time. On Saturday, 11 Stags competed, providing hope for the future of the program and demonstrating the depth of the team.
“It’s been an awesome year, just being a part of a team this good and being there when I need to be there as a freshman,” Macey said.
Continuing in singles, Marino at No. 2 and Pereverzin at No. 4 did not disappoint, with both claiming wins over the Sea Lions. At No. 1, Dorn lost a close match to Brooks Baldinger, ranked No. 6 in the West Region, 3-6, 4-6. Closing out the long day, Butts earned his 23rd singles win of the year with a tight 6-4, 7-5 victory at the No. 3 position.
The Stags are gearing up for the SCIAC tournament and the DIII NCAA Championship tournament series, which will be hosted in Claremont.
“We just have to all come together as a team and keep working hard in practice,” Marino said.
CMS will host Concordia University Irvine (6-4, 10-8) on Monday, April 21 at 5 p.m. for their last match before tournament play.