CMS overcomes 4-0 deficit to win Stag-Hen title over No. 2 Bowdoin

(Photo by Ellen Friedlander)
(Photo by Ellen Friedlander)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – In yet another improbable comeback, less than 24 hours after rallying from 3-0 down to defeat No. 5 Washington University in St. Louis, the No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tennis team won its seventh Stag-Hen Invitational title by defeating No. 2 Bowdoin 5-4 on Wednesday. In a dual match lasting four hours and eighteen minutes, CMS came back from 4-0 down to win the final five singles matches, four of them in three sets.

In the championship match, the Stags' doubles woes continued, as they were swept for the second consecutive match, only managing to win one of nine doubles pro-sets for the entire tournament. Sophomore Julian Gordy (CMC) and senior captain Daniel Morkovine (CMC) gave CMS their best chance at No. 1 doubles, holding a 5-3 lead with game-point on Morkovine's serve. However, CMS' top team could only win one of the final six games in a frustrating 8-6 loss.

The Stags started strong at all six singles positions, earning early service breaks to take leads on every court. Freshman Nikolai Parodi (CMC) and Morkovine at No. 1 and No. 3, were the only Stags unable to turn early leads into first set wins. Morkovine suffered his first singles loss of 2017, which put the defending NCAA champs up 4-0, and CMS needing to win every remaining match on court. Senior Max Macey (CMC) got the Stags their first win, a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 6. Parodi was next, as he stormed back to win the second set at No. 1, and then traded service breaks in eight of the first nine games of the third, before serving out the match at 5-4 in the deciding set.

Now trailing 4-2, the Stags bench and fans came alive, sensing that another comeback was now within reach. Senior captain Glenn Hull (CMC) had split the first two sets at No. 2 by 6-4 scores, but found himself serving at 2-4 and break point to go down two breaks in the final set. After saving the break point and holding serve, Hull broke back for 4-all and then broke again at 5-6 on his third match point. Hull's win narrowed the margin to  4-3 in matches and clearly shifted the advantage to CMS, with junior Patrick Wildman (CMC) and freshman Daniel Park (CMC) both up a set and late in the second in their matches at No. 4 and No. 5.

Both Wildman and Park served for the match on their courts at 5-4, but could not close it out. Park had three match points at 6-5 in the second, but again came up just short. When both Wildman and Park lost second set tie-breaks, it appeared that the advantage had shifted again back to Bowdoin. At No. 4, Wildman came out with purpose and vigor to start the third set, pulling CMS even at four matches all with his 6-2 decisive set victory. Meanwhile, Park - who had clinched yesterday's comeback in a three-set thriller at No. 4 – found himself down a break at 3-1. With fatigue and frustration setting in, it seemed unlikely that he would repeat the previous day's heroics. And then he did, drawing on the last of his physical reserves and making a slight tactical change, which resulted in a burst of four unanswered games and a 5-3 lead serving for the match. Failing to again close out at 5-3, Park needed his second match point returning at 4-5 to complete the incredible comeback win for CMS.

 Following the title match, CMS took on West Regional opponent Southwestern in an afternoon match. The dual match featured a simultaneous 5 + 1 format, with five singles matches and one doubles match. All matches were best-of-three sets using regular scoring, with the doubles counting for two points and the singles one, for a total of seven points. The Stags earned a 6-1 victory, winning in straight sets at all but No. 1 singles.

Next up for the Stags is a friendly match with Oxford University on Monday, March 20 at 5 p.m at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.

#6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5) vs. #2 Bowdoin (4)
March 15, 2017 at Claremont, CA (Biszantz Family Tennis Center) Stag-Hen Championship

Doubles
1. Luke Tercek / Grant Urken (Bowdoin) def. Daniel Morkovine / Julian Gordy (CMS) 8-6
2. Kyle Wolfe / Jerry Jiang (Bowdon) def. Glenn Hull / Nikolai Parodi (CMS) 8-4
3. Gil Roddy / Justin Patel (Bowdoin) def. Jake Berber / Daniel Park (CMS) 8-4

Singles
1. Nikolai Parodi (CMS) def. Luke Tercek (Bowdoin) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
2. Glenn Hull (CMS) def. Grant Urken (Bowdoin) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
3. Kyle Wolfe (Bowdoin) def. Daniel Morkovine (CMS) 6-4, 6-1
4. Patrick Wildman (CMS) def. Jerry Jiang (Bowdon) 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2
5. Daniel Park (CMS) def. Gil Roddy (Bowdoin) 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-4
6. Max Macey (CMS) def. Luke Carstens (Bowdoin) 7-5, 6-2

Order of completion
Doubles: 2, 3, 1
Singles: 3, 6, 1, 2, 4, 5

#6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6) vs. Southwestern (1)
March 15, 2017 at Claremont, CA (Biszantz Family Tennis Center)

Doubles

1. Max Macey / Jake Williams (CMS) def. Austin Moninger / Grant Gideon (SU) 7-6(5), 6-1

Singles
1. Niko Snovely (SU) def. Alex Brenner (CMS) 3-6, 7-6(6), (12-10)
2. Julian Gordy (CMS) def. Alexis Dimanche (SU) 6-1, 7-6(3)
3. Jake Berber (CMS) def. Dean Dulthummon (SU) 6-0, 6-2
4. Avi Vemuri (CMS) def. Haluki Nakayama (SU) 6-3, 6-3
5. Matt Jacobs (CMS) def. Rod Khansari (SU) 6-1, 6-2

Order of completion
S4, S6, D1, S3, S5, S2

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