CMS Stags Tennis advanced to its third straight NCAA Elite 8 with a 5-1 win over sixth ranked UC Santa Cruz on Saturday. After saving four match points at #3 doubles, the Stags' Neel Kotrappa (So. - La Verne, CA) and Brandon Wei (Sr. - Lake Oswego, OR[pictured right]) won a 9-8(6) tie-break to give their teammates a 2-1 advantage from which they would never look back.
Their win on Saturday was reminiscent of the 2010 West Regional final, where Wei and partner Eric MacColl (CMC '10) saved five match points to put the Stags ahead for good in their 5-3 win over Santa Cruz. Kotrappa and Wei improve to 20-3 on the season and are now a perfect 5-0 in tie-breaks.
CMS continued its tough singles play for the second consecutive day, getting wins at #2, #4, and #6 singles to close out a spirited Slugs squad and avenge a loss in Santa Cruz in early March. Junior Alex Lane (Claremont, CA) put the Stags up 3-1 with a 6-3, 7-5 victory - his 22nd of the season - at the second position. Mac Cahill (Jr. - Southport, CT) then followed with a hard fought 6-3, 7-6(1) win at #6 to get CMS one match away from clinching. For the second time in as many days, freshman Nik Marino (San Diego, CA) earned the final point at the #4 position. Marino's first set was critical in shifting the momentum of the dual match in CMS' favor, as he fought back from 2-5 down to win the first 7-5. After losing the second set 6-0, Marino re-set himself and cruised to a 6-1 final set.
CMS improves its record to 21-6 and advances to the NCAA quarterfinals in Cary, N.C., where they await a May 21 encounter with the winner between #4 Kenyon and #21 Mary Washington. This is the Stags' fourth trip to the NCAA Elite 8 in the past five years.
#5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5) vs. #6 UC
Santa Cruz (1)
May 12, 2012 at Claremont, CA (Biszantz Family Tennis Center) - NCAA Team Championship 3rd Round
1. Erich Koenig / Parker Larsen (UCSC) def. Alex Lane / Robbie Erani (CMS) 8-5
2. Warren Wood / Nik Marino (CMS) def. Ian Stanley / Erik Rosner (UCSC) 8-4
3. Neel Kotrappa / Brandon Wei (CMS) def. Devin Nerenberg / Eli Scandalis (UCSC) 9-8(6)
1. Warren Wood (CMS) vs. Devin Nerenberg (UCSC) 3-6, 5-4 DNF
2. Alex Lane (CMS) def. Erich Koenig (UCSC) 6-3, 7-5
3. Robbie Erani (CMS) vs. Andre Halabi (UCSC) 3-6, 5-4 DNF
4. Nik Marino (CMS) def. Parker Larsen (UCSC) 7-5, 0-6, 6-1
5. Alex Johnson (CMS) vs. Bryce Bettwy (UCSC) 1-6, 6-4, 1-4 DNF
6. Mac Cahill (CMS) def. Ian Stanley (UCSC) 6-3, 7-6(1)
Doubles: 2, 1, 3
Singles: 2, 6, 4