Claremont-Mudd-Scripps overcomes doubles deficit to top Middlebury
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earned a 5-2 victory against Middlebury in the NCAA championship quarterfinals on Monday. Freshman Skyler Butts won at No. 2 doubles and No. 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 survived multiple break points in the first and fifth games of their match and yet held on for a convincing 8-1 victory at No. 2 to put the Stags up 1-0.
Middlebury evened the match at one with an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles, leaving Nikolas Marino and Alex Lane in a position to give CMS the lead heading into singles. With a match point at 4-7, this was 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 singles by winning first sets at all six positions. Butts won easily at No. 4 to even the score at two, followed by senior Alex Johnson at No. 5, giving the Stags a 3-2 lead. Marino and Lane then completed the victory for CMS with straight-set wins at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.
CMS is now 29-3 and will face Amherst in the semifinals on Tuesday.