The Stags are on a quest for a national
championship, and they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. After defeating both the University of California, San Diego (6-4), and Clark
University (2-6) at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden Feb. 27, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s tennis team (4-0) is one step closer to this vision.
The first match of the day featured a tough matchup against Division II foe UCSD, in which CMS was able to pull out several close victories to defeat the Tritons 7-2.
Captain Warren Wood CM ’15 played in the No. 1 spot for both doubles and singles, winning the doubles matchup with partner Joe Dorn CM ’15 8-3 and then defeating his opponent in the top singles position 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to give his team a vital boost.
Skyler Butts CM ’16 also earned two wins in the match, feeding off of the team’s momentum to capture victory in the No. 2 doubles and singles slots. Butts’ singles win, which clinched the victory for the Stags, was especially hard fought as he won a tiebreaker in the first set and then dropped the second one before rebounding to close out the match strong with a 6-2 victory in the third set.
“What Coach Settles has promoted to all of us is to everyday pursue
excellence,” Alex Brenner CM ’17 said. “I think that there’s a certain level of confidence on the team. Everyone
in the country has a bull’s eye on us because of our success the last two years, so every team wants
to play their best against us and try to knock us off.”
The Stags were particularly excellent in their second match of the day, sweeping DIII opponent Clark 9-0.
Wood reprised his winning role in the No. 1 singles spot against Clark to earn his third victory of the day, the most among any player. In addition, CMS displayed its incredible depth as every member of the team earned at least one win across the two matches.
“Our chemistry is definitely very strong; we have three seniors that are all playing high positions at the top of the lineup which is great for the team,” Daniel Morkovine CM ’17 commented. “As far as team spirit goes I think that we’re a lot closer
this year because we don’t have anyone new and Coach creates a really competitive environment.”
The Stags next head down to San Diego for the PAC Coast
Doubles Invitational March 7 and 8, where they will be the only DIII representative
competing against all DI teams.
For the past two years, CMS has come in second in the Division III national championships, a trend the team is aiming to change.
“Everyone is hungry to win a national championship,” Brenner
said. “Second place is great, but we
have the opportunity to be the first team in CMS school history to win an outright national championship, and that’s pretty exciting. Our motto is ‘everyday pursuing excellence
and being on a quest for that trophy.’”