Stags Advance to NCAA Semifinals With 5-2 Win Over Middlebury

Skyler Butts (Photo Ellen Friedlander)
Skyler Butts (Photo Ellen Friedlander)

(Watch Alex Lane get the deciding point for CMS in the video clip above)

#1 CMS Stags Tennis earned a 5-2 victory against #11 Middlebury in the NCAA Team Championships Quarterfinals on Monday in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Freshman Skyler Butts (Santa Ana, CA) won at #2 doubles and #4 singles, as the Stags rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the last four matches and advance to the semifinals.

CMS lost two of three doubles for only the third time this season against a Division III opponent despite having the early advantage. Butts and partner Neel Kotrappa (Jr. Capt - La Verne, CA) survived multiple break points in the first and fifth games of their match, and yet held on for a convincing 8-1 victory at #2 to put the Stags up 1-0. Middlebury evened the match at 1-1 with an 8-4 win at #1 doubles, leaving Nikolas Marino (So. - San Diego, CA) and Alex Lane (Sr. - Claremont, CA) in a position to give CMS the lead heading into singles. With a match point at 4-7, Ad-out, this would be the Stags' one and only opportunity to finish. A Middlebury hold followed a break of Lane's serve to get back on serve at 6-7. The momentum swung Middlebury's way after a hold and break of Marino's serve had Midd serving for the match at 8-7. A double fault on break point sent the match to a tie-break, where Midd held a 5-2 lead and then a match point at 6-5, before finally winning 8-6.

Unfazed by the 2-1 deficit, CMS wasted no time in establishing control of the singles by winning first sets at all six positions. Butts won easily at #4 to even the score at 2-all, followed by senior Alex Johnson (Thousand Oaks, CA) at #5, giving the Stags a 3-2 lead. Marino and Lane then completed the victory for CMS with straight set wins at #2 and #3 respectively.

CMS is now 29-3 and will face #3 Amherst in the semifinals at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium at 1:30 PM EST on Tuesday.

#1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5) vs. #11 Middlebury (2)
May 20, 2013 at Kalamazoo, MI (Stowe Stadium) - NCAA Team Championships Quarterfinals

1. Alex Johnston / Andrew Lebovitz (Middlebury) def. Joe Dorn / Zhenya Pereverzin (CMS) 8-4
2. Neel Kotrappa / Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Brantner Jones / Teddy Fitzgibbons (Middlebury) 8-1
3. Palmer Campbell / Spencer Lunghino (Middlebury) def. Nikolas Marino / Alex Lane (CMS) 9-8(6)

1. Joe Dorn (CMS) vs. Alex Johnston (Middlebury) 7-6(4), 4-3, DNF
2. Nikolas Marino (CMS) def. Brantner Jones (Middlebury) 6-2, 6-4
3. Alex Lane (CMS) def. Palmer Campbell (Middlebury) 6-4, 6-3
4. Skyler Butts (CMS) def. Spencer Lunghino (Middlebury) 6-1, 6-3
5. Alex Johnson (CMS) def. Jackson Frons (Middlebury) 6-3, 6-4
6. Neel Kotrappa (CMS) vs. Courtney Mountfield (Middlebury) 7-6(6), 2-1, DNF

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