Stags, Athenas Continue to Serve Up Great Seasons

This past week
both the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s and women’s tennis teams competed in
their final regular season matches. The Stags (24-2, 7-0 SCIAC) swept
Occidental College and Chapman University April 18 and then handed Vanguard
University its first loss April 21 to cap off another strong week. The Athenas
(19-1, 8-0 SCIAC) also swept Chapman and Occidental in a doubleheader, keeping their SCIAC record clean.

The two teams each designated their final matches as Senior Night to celebrate
their graduating teammates, all four of whom had outstanding performances.

The Athenas’ lone
senior, Sarah Kukino CM ’15, played at No. 3 singles against Chapman where she
defeated Andrea Hammer, the 50th-ranked player in Division III, in two sets. Kukino
also played at No. 2 doubles against Chapman and No. 1 doubles against
Occidental with partner Kyla Scott HM ’18, winning both match-ups.

“I think
there’s been a lot of improvement in my singles and doubles, especially
doubles,” Kukino said. “At this point in the season, Kyla and I have
really meshed well together, and I really love playing with her. We have very
similar personalities and on-court demeanor, and our games are really

Between the two
matches, everyone got into the lineup, making the win a real team effort
according to Kukino. The Athenas next compete at the Ojai Valley Tournament April
23-26 and will be going in with an eleven-game winning streak against some
tough competition that will prepare them for the SCIAC tournament approaching
the following weekend.

“We’ll be
facing a lot of people we’ve never seen or played before,” Kukino said.
“For me, I just want to go to Ojai and do the best I can. Obviously for
SCIAC it would be great if we took it home, but going into every match
expecting to have a tough match, not really taking anything for granted and
always bringing our highest level is all we can ask.”

The Stags enjoyed
similar success in their three most recent matches. Nik Marino CM ’15, ranked
No. 9 in the West Region, earned his 102nd singles victory after three matches
this week and showed his versatility by playing with three different doubles
partners. Joe Dorn CM ’15 and Warren Wood CM ’15 also continued their 15-game
winning streak as the No. 1 doubles team in the West to help give the Lions
their first loss of the season.

“Going into
the match, we knew they were a good team—one of the toughest competitors of the
year—so we tried to approach it like a quarterfinals match at Nationals,”
Dorn said. “Knowing this was the seniors’ last regular-season home match
added some extra excitement, and it took a bit of pressure off of us knowing
that they were good opponents. We were ready for long battles and were prepared
to ride the wave if things didn’t go well in the beginning.”

The men will also
be competing at the Ojai this weekend, a tournament that is more individual and
is more about building confidence, according to Dorn. As the seniors wrap up
their careers, they hope to end on a high note and leave their legacies with

“We’ve all
had great careers and exciting four years of tennis, and winning a national
championship would make that complete, but we can’t focus on the outcome,”
Dorn said. “We have to focus on what we can control, and right now [Ojai is
a] great opportunity to get a lot of reps in before SCIACs and to just see the
overall competition level in our conference.” 

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