National Championship Bound! CMS Women's Tennis Rolls Past Wesleyan in Semis to Reach Third Straight Final
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's tennis team advanced to the national championship match for the third straight time with a quick 5-0 win over previously undefeated Wesleyan on Tuesday afternoon at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
CMS won the national title in 2018 with a 5-4 win over Emory in the finals, and then fell to Wesleyan 5-4 in the 2019 championship, before the COVID pandemic kept the Athenas from competing in 2020 and 2021. CMS now stands at 26-3 on the season and will face No. 1 Chicago in the title match on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (Eastern), while Wesleyan sees its season come to a close with a 23-1 record.
Ella Brissett picked up an emphatic 6-0 6-0 win at No. 4 singles over senior Venia Yeung, who was the national runner-up in singles in 2019 as a first-year. The final point came when Audrey Yoon earned a 6-3, 3-0 win at No. 3 singles due to retirement. The Athenas were also up a set at No. 2 (Sydney Lee), No. 5 (Nikolina Batoshvili) and No. 6 (Sarah Bahsoun), and Crystal Juan led 3-1 in the second set at No. 1 singles looking for a split at the time the match was halted.
CMS only needed two singles wins after a statement performance in doubles, led by Batoshvili and Alisha Chulani at No. 1, who roared out to a 7-0 lead. Wesleyan managed to salvage two games, but after a changeover, Batoshvili was able to serve it out for an 8-2 win.
Sydney Lee and Gabby Lee picked up an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles, which was closer than the score indicated. Wesleyan led 3-2, and the next six games that the Athena dup won included several that went through multiple deuces, but Lee and Lee kept coming up with clutch points in big spots to pull away.
The final doubles point came at No. 3, where Bahsoun and Devon Wolfe went into a tiebreaker. Bahsoun had a volley for a key point to give the Athenas a 4-2 lead at the changeover, and they ended up finishing off the win when a Wesleyan lob sailed long to give CMS a 3-0 win heading into singles.
Although CMS will be making its third national title appearance in a row, the COVID break has left the Athenas with only Bahsoun and Sydney among players with title match experience. Juan was also on the team at the time, but wasn't in the lineup for the finals, and Wolfe transferred to CMS from Bowdoin.
CMS and Chicago did not meet this season, although they were at the same tournament when they competed at the ITA Indoors in February. Chicago won the title over Emory, and has been ranked No. 1 ever since, while CMS fell to Emory in the semis and came in fourth after a loss to Pomona-Pitzer in the consolations, which are still two of only three losses that the Athenas have suffered all season.