CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's tennis team, ranked No. 2 in the nation and the tournament's top seed, earned a dominant 5-0 win over No. 5 Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday to win its eighth straight SCIAC Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.
With the win, CMS improves to 23-1 on the season, including 16 straight wins since its only defeat on March 3 in an indoor match (to No. 1 Emory). The Athenas will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, and are expected to serve as a regional host next weekend. The regional winners then advance to the NCAA Division III Championships in Kalamzoo, Michigan from May 20-22, where the Athenas hope to try to defend their national title from a year ago.
The No. 5 Sagehens did put up a battle in doubles, but CMS was able to prevail with all three points to take a 3-0, lead with two of the wins coming by 8-6 scores. Freshman Sarah Bahsoun and junior Nicole Tan started things off with an 8-4 win at No. 2 doubles, and junior Madison Shea and freshman Sydney Lee prevailed with an 8-6 win at No. 3 for a 2-0 lead. Junior Catherine Allen and sophomore Caroline Cox, who haven't lost a doubles match to a Division III opponent all season, fought off the challenge from Pomona-Pitzer for an 8-6 win of their own to take an 8-6 win and complete the 3-0 sweep.
Allen took that momentum over into singles, where she was the first to finish to get a big personal win over Pomona-Pitzer No. 1 Caroline Casper. Last week, in the regular season finale, Casper gave Allen her only dual singles loss of the entire season, after also earning a head-to-head win in the ITA West Regional in the fall. This time around, though, Allen controlled the match from the start and picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win to bring the Athenas within one win of a clinch.
Bahsoun provided the clinch at No. 6 singles, when she finished off a 6-1, 6-2 win to give CMS the fifth and deciding point. The Athenas were also in strong shape at No. 5 singles, where Cox led 6-4, 4-1, while sophomore Rebecca Berger (6-3, 1-1 at No. 3) and Tan (7-6 at No. 2) also had leads.
The Athenas enter the NCAA Tournament clicking on all cylinders, with a 7-2 win over Pomona-Pitzer last week the only time during its 16-match win streak that they have surrendered more than one point to their opponents. The aggregate score over the last 16 matches is an impressive 128-6.