From University of Chicago Athletics
For the second-straight season, the No. 8-ranked University of Chicago men's tennis team knocked off the defending national champions with a 5-2 victory over No. 2-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the NCAA Division III Championship quarterfinals on Monday morning.
The Maroons (18-5) previously beat defending champ Amherst College 5-4 in the 2015 NCAA quarterfinals. They advance to their second NCAA Final Four in program history and second in consecutive years. The Stags end their season at 27-5.
Entering the tournament, UChicago was the No. 7 seed while the Stags came in as the No. 2 seed. The teams played each other earlier in the season, with CMS emerging with a 7-2 home victory back on March 25.
Early momentum seemed to be rolling UChicago's way, as the Maroons were poised to go up 2-1 in doubles play. The No. 2 tandem of sophomore Peter Leung and freshman Charlie Pei took a 6-1 lead while the No. 1 duo of sophomores Nicolas Chua and David Liu were ahead 5-3. However, the Stags rallied back quickly at the top spot to tie it up at 6-6. The match came down to a tiebreaker that CMS won 9-8 (7-4). Pei and Leung finished off their opponents 8-5 to give the Maroons a crucial point.
With six singles matches on tap, UChicago needed four more wins to advance. The squad started strong across the board, grabbing five of the first sets. Leung was the first to finish at the No. 6 spot by topping his foe 6-3, 6-3. Junior Sven Kranz breezed through his second set at No. 3 and put the Maroons ahead with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph. It marked Kranz's first win of this year's postseason after his two previous singles bouts in earlier rounds went unfinished on match point.
Liu slugged his way to a tight victory at No. 2 by matching 6-4, 6-4 scores to put his team on the edge of another Final Four berth. Three matches remained at No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5. At the fourth spot, Pei was up a set (6-2) and tied 6-6. The freshman then dominated the tiebreak 7-1 to bring the match to a close.
"I was really happy with the way we competed today," said Head Coach Jay Tee. "We had a much better mentality than in our previous matches where we looked scared to win or that the other team was just going to give us free wins. Today the energy was all different and we played with more of an edge and toughness. When we bring that mindset, we are a handfull."
UChicago 5, CMS 2
1. Skyler Butts (CMS) vs. Nicolas Chua (UC) 7-5, 2-2, unfinished
2. David Liu (UC) def. Glenn Hull (CMS) 6-4, 6-4
3. Sven Kranz (UC) def. Daniel Morkovine (CMS) 6-4, 6-2
4. Charlie Pei (UC) def. Max Macey (CMS) 6-2, 7-6 (7-1)
5. Luke Tsai (UC) vs. Patrick Wildman (CMS) 6-3, 3-6, unfinished
6. Peter Leung (UC) def. Lestter Yeh (CMS) 6-3, 6-3
1. Skyler Butts/Daniel Morkovine (CMS) def. Nicolas Chua/David Liu (UC) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Charlie Pei/Peter Leung (UC) def. Julian Gordy/Oliver Seifert (CMS) 8-5
3. Glenn Hull/Lestter Yeh (CMS) def. Luke Tsai/Max Hawkins (UC) 8-4