CMS Stags Tennis came up just short against the top team in Division III on Saturday, as #1 Amherst held on for a 6-3 decision at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.
For the second time in two days against a top three D3 team, CMS failed to capitalize on a home court advantage and take a lead in the doubles. The Stags' #2 pair of Neel Kotrappa (So. - La Verne, CA) and Brandon Wei (Sr. - Lake Oswego, OR) extended their win streak to eight matches with an 8-6 victory that evened the dual match at one point a piece. However, missed opportunities at the first and third doubles positions yielded two Amherst wins that gave the Lord Jeffs a 2-1 lead heading into the singles.
Plagued by slow starts at nearly every singles position a day earlier against Williams, CMS hoped to start stronger against the defending NCAA Champions. Mac Cahill (Jr. - Southport, CT) gave CMS that strong start at #6, and then completed a convincing 6-1, 6-1 victory to pull the Stags even at two matches all. Meanwhile, CMS lost tough first sets at #2, #3, and #4, and it looked as if Amherst might pull away. After dropping straight set matches at #4 and #5, CMS found themselves down 4-2 and only one match away from elimination.
But then the match began to turn, with the Stags seizing momentum at the top three positions, giving hope to all in attendance that CMS could pull off the upset. At number one, junior Alex Lane (Claremont, CA) bounced back from a lopsided first set loss to grind out the second and gain an early break in the third. At number two, freshman Warren Wood (Del Mar, CA) lost a hard fought tie-break set in the first, but then consolidated his early break in the second to force a decisive third set. At number three, senior Robbie Erani (New York, NY) similarly battled back from a tie-break loss in the first to win a second set tie-break, putting all three Stags in decisive third sets.
Wood's service break at 3-5 in the third got CMS it's third point of the afternoon, but the Stags still needed late match heroics from Lane and Erani. Lane's best chance came with a 2-4 advantage and three deuce opportunities returning serve. However, a streaking Mark Kahan was relentless from the baseline, winning the final four games and clinching the dual for the Lord Jeffs.
CMS is now 9-6 and will host #7 Middlebury on Friday, March 30 at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center. SCIAC play then resumes the following day, as the Stags travel to #17 Whittier.
#18 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (3) vs. #1
March 24, 2012 at Claremont, CA (Biszantz Family Tennis Center)
1. Luis Rattenhuber / Austin Chavetz (Amherst) def. Alex Lane / Warren Wood (CMS) 8-4
2. Neel Kotrappa / Brandon Wei (CMS) def. Mark Kahan / Chris Dale (Amherst) 8-6
3. Wes Waterman / Robby Sorrel (Amherst) def. Robbie Erani / Victor Chien (CMS) 8-6
1. Mark Kahan (Amherst) def. Alex Lane (CMS) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
2. Warren Wood (CMS) def. Austin Chavetz (Amherst) 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3
3. Luis Rattenhuber (Amherst) def. Robbie Erani (CMS) 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-4
4. Joey Fritz (Amherst) def. Alex Johnson (CMS) 7-5, 6-2
5. Wes Waterman (Amherst) def. Neel Kotrappa (CMS) 6-2, 6-2
6. Mac Cahill (CMS) def. Chris Dale (Amherst) 6-1, 6-1
Doubles: 3, 2, 1
Singles: 6, 5, 4, 2, 1, 3