After taking on five teams in four days, the Division III No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s tennis team (21-3, 7-0 SCIAC) remains undefeated in the conference and is gearing up to finish the season off strong.
First, despite a rough start to the match against University of Redlands on Friday, Apr. 15, the Stags ended up dominating 7-2. Max Macey CM '17 and Bryan Mehall HM '16 were the only team to bring in a doubles win, but the Stags soon reversed the tide, going undefeated in the singles rounds by significant margins. With a massive win under their belt, the Stags continued their momentum and swept their matches against Occidental College the next day, winning 9-0.
Lestter Yeh CM '16, who came out with a two-set victory in his singles match against Redlands (6-2, 6-3), noted the team’s resilience.
“We are pretty tough regardless of what happens in doubles,” Yeh said. “Our mentality is just no matter what the score is after doubles, we’ll try to win all six singles, and I believe we’re deep enough as a team to do that.”
Unfortunately, CMS suffered a 6-2 loss to University of California, Irvine, later that day, but against both Oxy and UC Irvine, the Stags still showed their mettle. Captain Skyler Butts CM '16, for example, lit up the courts, going 3-0 in his matches against Oxy and UC Irvine. With Butts and Daniel Morkovine CM '17 bringing in a 6-4 win in the opening doubles match and with Butts’ close 3-set singles victory against Anteater Nico Mertens (3-6, 6-4, 6-3), Butts and Morkovine were the only Stags to put up points against UC Irvine.
The Stags competed in two postponed matches on Tuesday, suffering a tough 5-4 loss against Division II Azusa Pacific University (20-4, PacWest 2-1). Butts and Morkovine crushed their doubles match 8-3 but were the only doubles win against Azusa. The Stags rallied in their singles matches with wins from Morkovine, Patrick Wildman CM '18, and Julian Gordy CM '19, but were ultimately not able to secure the victory.
CMS immediately bounced back against Whittier College (6-10, SCIAC 2-4) and ended the night on a high note with a 5-0 win, clinching the Stags’ undefeated record in the SCIAC conference.
The Stags will face up against Division II Univeristy of California, San Diego (13-8, CCAA 0-0), at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 30, before moving onto the SCIAC quarterfinals against Occidental on May 6. Because the higher ranked team hosts the team its playing, CMS will play in all home matches during SCIACs.
Yeh said he believes the Stags will benefit from this home-court advantage.
“It’ll help a lot actually,” Yeh said. “We’re quite used to our courts—they’re a lot cleaner and nicer than a lot of other places, and there’s a lot more space.”
As the post-season draws nearer, CMS hopes to continue fine-tuning its doubles lineup and performance.
“A theme that we’ve been working towards since the beginning of the season is probably improving our doubles and making it a lot more consistent,” Yeh said. “Even though we’ve been winning most of our matches, our doubles lineup besides our No. 1 team has been pretty shaky, so it’d be nice to have a comfortable lead after doubles going into singles. I think if we take care of that, [winning matches] will get a lot easier.”