Sophomore Skyler Butts (Santa Ana, CA) became the second singles player in CMS Tennis history to reach the final of the USTA / ITA Division III National Championships. Butts earned two victories in Ft. Myers, FL before falling in straight sets to champion Abishek Alla, also a sophomore, from Carnegie Mellon.
Butts, seeded third, began his quest for a national singles title with a tough 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory in the quarterfinals against Wisconsin-Whitewater's Jake Humphreys. Humphreys, the Central Region's champion, held a 4-2 lead in the third set before Butts won the final four games of their three-hour match.
In the semifinals, Butts faced Skidmore's Oliver Loutsenko, the East Region champion. Butts earned an important service break in the eighth game of the match and then held serve to win the first set 6-3. Butts raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second set before closing out the second 6-2 to earn a berth in the championship match.
In the final, Butts matched up against CMU's Alla, who was unseeded but had not lost a set in his two previous matches. The two players traded breaks early, with Butts initially up 3-1, and then Alla leading 4-3. At 4-all, the two players played a five deuce game, with Alla eventually holding after saving two break points. Butts was then broken at 4-5 to give Alla the first set 6-4. In the second set, Butts broke in the first game and then held a 40-love in the second game, but was broken back. That would be Butts' last real chance to take control, as Alla won the next five games to take the title. Alla's title is the second in CMU's history.
Butts joins Michael Starr (HMC '10) as the only other Stag to reach the final of the presitgious Small College National Championships. Starr was D3 champion in 2006, and went on to become the only D3 singles player ever to win a match in the Small College Super Bowl.