Tigers Reach NCAA Quarterfinals With Win Over Gustavus
Elkhorn, Wisconsin - Eighth-ranked Trinity's men's tennis team advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 5-2 postseason win over No. 18 Gustavus Adolphus College on Sunday afternoon.
Trinity (20-9) will take on sixth-ranked Williams on May 20 at Kalamazoo (MI) College. It will mark the third quarterfinal appearance in four years for the Tigers. Each has come under fourth-year Head Coach Russell McMindes.
The last time the Tigers played in Kalamazoo was in 2000, when Trinity captured the NCAA Championship. Coach Butch Newman, now Trinity's director of tennis, led the Tigers to a 4-3 victory over Gustavus Adolphus in the title match.
Sunday's contest on the campus of Wisconsin-Whitewater began with Gustavus Adolphus winning two of three doubles matches to take the lead over the Tigers. Erick Delafuente and Jordan Mayer fell 8-6 at No. 1 doubles, while Aaron Skinner and Nico Moreno were edged 9-8 in the No. 2 slot. Greg Haugen and Connor Dunn picked up Trinity's first point by winning No. 3 doubles 8-5.
Trinity began its comeback with Mayer winning No. 5 singles 6-2, 6-3. Haugen gave Trinity a 3-2 lead by winning No. 3 singles 6-2, 6-4. The margin widened as DelaFuente was a 6-4, 6-3 winner at No. 4 singles.
The match responsible for sending the Tigers back to "The Zoo," as Kalamazoo is affectionately called in in tennis circles, was No. 2 singles. Moreno brought home the dual-match win with a hard-fought 7-6 (4-0), 6-2 victory.
Two matches did not finish, as the matchup was called after the clincher. Skinner had just started the third set of No. 1 singles, with the match score at 6-4, 4-6, 1-0. Charlie Curtis split his No. 6 singles match, taking the first set 6-3, and losing the second 6-2.
The Tigers qualified for their 20th appearance in the NCAA Playoffs by winning an 18th Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title. Trinity shut out Ohio Northern 5-0 in Saturday's Wisconsin-Whitewater Regional second round, after receiving a first-round bye.
The NCAA Team Tournament is slated for May 20-22, with starting times to be announced. Skinner will represent Trinity in the NCAA Singles Championship event May 23-25. Last fall, Skinner captured the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Small College Singles Championship, at Mobile, Ala.