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May 4, 2013

Men's Tennis Wins 8th Straight SCIAC Title

CMS Stags Tennis won a tough 6-3 decision against #5 Cal Lutheran to claim their eighth straight outright SCIAC title and extend their conference unbeaten streak to 75 matches. CMS was led by Nikolas Marino (So. - San Diego, CA) and Alex Lane (Sr. - Claremont, CA), who each won two matches on for the Stags.

The Stags got on the scoreboard first with #1 team Warren Wood (So. - Del Mar, CA) and Joe Dorn (So. - Washington D.C.) turning in an impressive win over the top team in the West Region, Cal Lutheran's Nick Ballou and Ray Worley. The win avenged a one-sided loss to Ballou and Worley six days earlier in the Ojai doubles final.

Cal Lu evened the score at one-all with a win at #2 doubles and then led 7-4 at #3 doubles, before Marino and Lane began their comeback. Lane held for 5-7, and then the Stags third pair broke at 30 to get back on serve at 6-7. Marino held for 7-all and then the two teams traded service holds and headed into a tie-break. The tie-break turned out to be a serving battle, with the Stags' #3 only missing one first serve en route to a 7-3 victorious outcome.

With the score 2-1 after doubles, the two teams each won first sets in three of the singles matches. Cal Lu took the opening sets at #1, #2, and #5, while CMS took leads at #3, #4, and #6. Senior Alex Johnson (Thousand Oaks, CA) put CMS ahead 3-1 with his straight set win at #6. Marino then got his 27th win of the year at #3 to put the Stags ahead 4-1 and only one match away from clinching. Worley's two set win against Dorn at #2 narrowed the Stags' lead to 4-2, with both Skyler Butts (Fr. - Santa Ana, CA) and Lane, at #5 and #3 only points away from winning. Butts closed out a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win for the 5th and deciding match, completing a comeback from 2-6, 2-3 and two break points down. Lane then served out a 6-4, 6-4 win at #4 to put CMS up 6-2, leaving the two top players in the country - Ballou and Wood - to conclude the dual match.

Ballou served twice for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, with Wood breaking twice to stay in the match and then force a second set tie-break. Wood won his eighth tie-break of the season in eleven opportunities, 7-4, to then force a third set. With Ballou serving at 1-3, and break point for a second Wood break, Ballou placed a cross court backhand pass on the outer edge of the line  and went on to hold for 2-3. Ballou then broke first for 3-all and then again with Wood serving at 4-5, to earn the 6-4 third set win and his team's third point of the dual.

CMS concludes the regular season with a 26-3 overall record and 10-0 in SCIAC, ranked #1 in the West Region and #1 nationally. The NCAA Division III team championships draw as well as individual singles and doubles selections will be announced Monday, May 6. CMS will likely host the NCAA opening round matches next Friday through Sunday, May 10-12.

#1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6) vs. #5 Cal Lutheran (3)
May 4, 2013 - SCIAC Championship Match at Whittier, CA (Whittier Narrows Tennis Center)

Doubles
1. Warren Wood / Joe Dorn def. Nick Ballou / Ray Worley (Cal Lu) 8-5
2. Alex Nichols / Connor Treacy (Cal Lu) def. Neel Kotrappa / Skyler Butts (CMS) 8-3
3. Nikolas Marino / Alex Lane (CMS) def.  Thomas Millet / Marcelo Sousa (Cal Lu) 9-8(3)

Singles
1. Nick Ballou (Cal Lu) def. Warren Wood (CMS) 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4
2. Ray Worley (Cal Lu) def. Joe Dorn (CMS) 6-3, 6-4
3. Nikolas Marino (CMS) def. Alex Nichols (Cal Lu) 6-3, 6-3
4. Alex Lane (CMS) def. Connor Treacy (Cal Lu) 6-4, 6-4
5. Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Thomas Millet (Cal Lu) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Alex Johnson (CMS) def. Devon Belcher (Cal Lu) 6-4, 6-1

Order of completion
Doubles: 1, 2, 3
Singles: 6, 3, 2, 5, 4, 1