The wait is over. After 34 years and back-to-back losses in the national title match in 2013 and 2014, No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is bringing the national championship trophy home.
The Stags soundly defeated Middlebury 5-0 in the national title match of the 2015 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships on Wednesday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. For the Stags, it is the second national title in program history; the other, a tie, coming in 1981.
“It’s been a long road,” senior Warren Wood said after the match. “Two years in the finals and not quite getting there [winning the title], especially at home last year, that really pushed us this year.”
In Wednesday’s match, that motivation and CMS’ national title match experience from the past two seasons showed through. Nowhere was that more evident than in doubles.
After a dominant 8-1 No. 2 doubles win by sophomore Daniel Morkovine and junior Skyler Butts, the Stags had to show its mettle in No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. Seniors Joe Dorn and Wood came back from a 3-1 deficit and ran off seven consecutive games to win 8-3 against Palmer Campbell and Peter Heidrich at No. 1 doubles.
Fellow senior Nikolas Marino and sophomore Glenn Hull followed with a comeback of their own in No. 3 doubles 9-7.
With all of the momentum heading into singles, the Stags wrapped up the title with wins at No. 1 and No. 6 singles. Wood won 6-1, 6-4 against Ari Smolyar at No. 1 singles and trailed in the second set before coming back to get the win which moved CMS ahead 4-0 and one point away from the title.
Just minutes after Wood won his match, Hull clinched it with a cross-court backhand that Middlebury’s Kyle Schlanger was unable to return. Hull won his match 6-2, 6-2 against Schlanger. The Stags also led at No. 2 (Butts), No. 4 (Dorn) and No. 5 (Morkovine) singles when the match ended.
This was the 11th meeting between CMS and Middlebury since 2005, with CMS having won nine of the matches. It was the first matchup between the two programs in the title match. Last season, CMS defeated Middlebury 5-2 in the national semifinals.
CMS’ historic season closes with a 32-2 record, undefeated against NCAA Division III opponents