In Clash of Top Teams, Stags Prevail Over Sagehens in Sixth Street Rivalry match

Winning championships while having fun ranks at the
top of the list of priorities for any collegiate athlete. For those at the 5Cs, though, winning the infamous Sixth Street rivalry game is a close second. Pulling off a
victory in front of a boisterous crowd of Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps fans can easily be the
highlight of any season. After initially trailing in doubles, the No. 1 CMS men’s tennis team (21-2, 5-0 SCIAC) pulled ahead of the No. 3 P-P men’s team (23-5, 5-2 SCIAC) April 10 in
order to win this year’s rivalry match by a score of 6-3.

For both
teams, preparation for the rivalry match, as well as others, began months in
advance with intense off-season training and practices. This effort has definitely
paid off as both teams are currently ranked in the top three in the nation and are having extremely successful seasons thus far.

“I believe
our success this season simply comes down to how well we have prepared and
trained,” Joe Dorn CM ’15 said. “Our mindset is to train harder than other
teams and just focus on improving each day.”

While this success often occurs on an annual basis for the CMS team, the P-P team has changed its mindset and thrived as a result.

“I think
the reason we are having such a great season is that we are finally believing
that there is no team in the nation that we can’t beat,” Spencer Simonides PO
’17 said.

After losing to the Stags 8-1 earlier in the season, this game
was especially exciting for the Hens.

“Seeing the
improvements in the results against our mutual opponents with CMS, we realized that
this could be our big chance to finally upset the stranglehold that they have
held on this Sixth Street rivalry for so long,” Simonides said.

The Hens
came out hot last Friday, pulling ahead after doubles with a score of 2-1. The
two P-P wins came from Graham Maassen PZ ‘17 and Jonathan Kim PZ ’16, as well as
Simonides and Antony Bello PO ’17. Warren Wood CM ’15 and Dorn added the
lone doubles win for CMS.

This gave the Hens a tremendous boost in confidence.

“The
highlight of the weekend was getting up 2-1 in doubles, showing that CMS isn’t
as untouchable as everyone thinks they are,” Simonides said.

For CMS,
having to come back after being down after doubles was uncharted territory.

“It was the
first time we have been behind after doubles in over a year,” Dorn said. “That
was a pretty crazy streak, but we were ready for the challenge of coming back
in singles.”

And bounce back is exactly what the Stags did. Singles play opened with Nik Marino CM ’15 winning 6-1, 6-2 in order
to bring the score to 2-2. Skylar Butts CM ’16 added another win to the CMS
column to give the Stags the lead before Connor Hudson PO ’15 won in three sets
to tie the score at three apiece.

From then on, the Stags dominated the court as Dorn, Daniel Morkovine CM ‘17 and
Max Macey CM ’17 won their matches to give CMS the victory with a final score
of 6-3.

“The
highlight of the weekend was definitely beating a competitive P-P team and collectively
playing really well in singles,” Dorn said. “I’m also really proud to be part
of a team that respects its opponents and has great sportsmanship.”

Despite the
excitement surrounding the rivalry match, neither team was done competing for
the weekend. On Saturday, both teams beat the California Institute of Technology (5-10, 0-6 SCIAC)
by a score of 9-0. The Hens played their other match against the
University of Redlands (14-7, 5-1 SCIAC), falling by a score of 5-4.
The Stags played Azusa Pacific University (18-3) and also lost 5-4.

Although
their most hyped regular season match is over, both CMS and P-P are excited for
the remainder of the season and the work that still must be put in.

“Overall I
think we need to take some time to just practice and recover a little before
preparing to absolutely empty the tanks this postseason and see if we can win
a SCIAC and then a national championship,” Simonides said. “ We took a couple
tough losses this past weekend, but we are going to bounce back stronger than
ever.”

The Stags
have similar goals in mind, but as a senior, Dorn also appreciates the
importance of the journey.

“We
obviously want to win the national championship, but we realize we just have to
focus on improving each day,” Dorn said. “The process is far more important
than the final result, and if we compete hard, prepare well and conduct
ourselves like champions, we will be happy to look back on a successful season.”

You can
catch the Stags at home this Saturday, April 18, as they take on Occidental College (6-10, 1-5 SCIAC), while
both teams will be back at it again at the Ojai Tournament starting April
24. 

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