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On To Kalamazoo

Neel Kotrappa and Skyler Butts; Stags Win NCAA West Regional (Photos John Valenzuela)

#1 CMS Stags Tennis defeated #5 Cal Lutheran 5-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Team Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan. CMS has now advanced to the NCAA D3 final eight for the past four years and six of the last eight.

CMS established control of the dual match by taking two of three doubles matches, just as they had done in their two previous meetings with the Kingsmen. Nikolas Marino (So.- San Diego, CA) and Alex Lane (Sr. - Claremont, CA) needed two service breaks to win at #3 doubles and put the Stags up 1-0. Moments later, junior captain Neel Kotrappa (La Verne, CA) and Skyler Butts (Fr. - Santa Ana, CA) avenged a loss at #2 doubles with a convincing 8-4 victory to make the score 2-0. CMS' #1 team of Warren Wood (So. - Del Mar, CA) and Joe Dorn (So. - Washington D.C.) lost for the third time in four meetings this spring with Cal Lu's Nick Ballou and Ray Worley, narrowing the Stags' lead to 2-1 heading to the singles.

With Cal Lutheran having won six first sets trailing 2-1 a day earlier against UC Santa Cruz, CMS was determined to start and finish strong in the singles. Marino, Lane, and Butts won decisive first sets at #3, #4, and #5 singles respectively to give the Stags a commanding lead. Wood and Alex Johnson (Sr. - Thousand Okas, CA) also won first sets for leads at five of the six positions.

Marino wasted little time in winning 6-0, 6-0 at the #3 position to make the score 3-1, followed by Butts' straight set win at #5. Marino and Butts are now a staggering 28-5 and 24-3 respectively at #3 and #5 singles on the year. With the Stags needing only one more victory to clinch, both Wood and Dorn found themsleves in tight second sets, while Lane and Johnson raced to the finish line.

In the end it was Lane who appropriately played the last Stags point at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in 2013. His 6-3, 6-1 win was the culmination of a nearly flawless weekend of tennis, which would send he and his teammates on to the NCAA quarterfinals.

CMS is now 28-3 overall and will face 11th ranked Middlebury in the quarterfinals - the second meeting of these teams this season. The Stags were 8-1 winners over Middlebury on March 28 at CMS.

#1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5) vs. #5 Cal Lutheran (1)
May 12, 2013 - NCAA Division III Team Championships 3rd Round at Claremont, CA (Biszantz Family Tennis Center)

Doubles
1. Nick Ballou / Ray Worley (Cal Lu) def. Warren Wood / Joe Dorn (CMS) 8-5
2. Neel Kotrappa / Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Alex Nichols / Connor Treacy (Cal Lu)  8-4
3. Nikolas Marino / Alex Lane (CMS) def.  Thomas Millet / Marcelo Sousa (Cal Lu) 8-5

Singles
1. Warren Wood (CMS) vs. Nick Ballou (Cal Lu) 6-3, 3-4, DNF
2. Joe Dorn (CMS) vs. Ray Worley (Cal Lu) 2-6, 4-3, DNF
3. Nikolas Marino (CMS) def. Alex Nichols (Cal Lu) 6-0, 6-0
4. Alex Lane (CMS) def. Connor Treacy (Cal Lu) 6-3, 6-1
5. Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Thomas Millet (Cal Lu) 6-2, 6-3
6. Alex Johnson (CMS) vs. Devon Belcher (Cal Lu) 6-2, 2-1, DNF

Order of completion
Doubles: 3, 2, 1
Singles: 3, 5, 4