SAINT PETER, MN. – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is competing in the ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship for the first time in nine years.
They are making up for lost time.
Seeded second in the eight-team field, the Stags stand on the doorstep of their first ITA National Indoor Team Championship, thanks to a 6-3 victory over No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis in Saturday’s semifinal contest at the Swanson Tennis Center, located on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
“It’s really special to be back,” said CMS head coach Paul Settles. “Tommy, his staff and the ITA have done so much for this event. Being here and playing on six courts is fantastic and the new schedule is great. It’s a really elite and special event. We’re thrilled to be playing for a national championship (Sunday).”
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earned two of three points in doubles and grabbed a 4-2 lead following singles victories by Daniel Park at No. 4 singles (6-0, 6-3 over Daniel Li) and Jack Katzman at No. 2 singles (6-3, 7-6 (4). Avinash Vemuri locked won the Stags’ match-clinching point with a 7-6 (6), 6-2 win at No. 6 singles against Mark Wu.
To win its first indoor national title, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will have to take down the two-time defending champion and top-seeded Emory Eagles. Start time for Sunday's final is 8 a.m. CDT. Emory, who has reached the championship match at this tournament four straight years, staved off elimination for a second consecutive day.
The Eagles were pushed to the test by familiar foe, No. 4 Chicago. The Maroons, who faced the Eagles in the 2016 and 2017 championship matches, took the champs down to the very last court, which was No. 4 singles. There, Emory freshman Hayden Cassone outlasted Chicago’s Jeremy Yuan in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to clinch the match 5-4 in favor of the Eagles.
“It was amazing,” said Cassone of being rushed by his teammates following his victory. “Winning that match and clinching is such a big deal to me and makes me feel so happy.”
After playing two heart-pounding matches that saw the Eagles come within a few points of elimination, Cassone knows there isn’t much time to celebrate Saturday’s accomplishment.
“It’s the finals and another tough match, so we have to let this one go and get ready for the next one,” said Cassone.
For updated draws, results, live scoring and video, daily recaps and photo galleries, head to the Division III Men’s National Indoors event page. On social media, be sure to follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #ITAIndoors to join the conversation.
No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps def. No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis 6-3
No. 1 Emory def. No. 4 Chicago 5-4
Opening Round Results
No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis def. No. 6 University of Redlands 9-0
No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps def. No. 7 Trinity University 9-0
No. 4 Chicago def. No. 5 Carnegie Mellon 6-3
No. 1 Emory def. No. 8 Gustavus Adolphus 5-4