Kalamazoo, Michigan - The eighth-ranked Trinity Tigers men were eliminated from the NCAA Division III Tennis Championships by a 5-1 quarterfinals loss Monday to No. 6 Williams College at Western Michigan University.
Trinity, playing in its third quarterfinals round in four years - all under Head Coach Russell McMindes - completed the season with a 20-10 record. Williams (21-3) takes on Washington-St. Louis in Tuesday's semifinals.
The clincher for the Ephs was a battle at No. 2 singles, as Nico Moreno fell 3-6, 6-0, 7-6. Moreno was up 5-4 (40-15) and served for the match in the third set, when the Williams player brought the match to a tiebreaker.
Senior Erick Delafuente kept the Tigers in the match by winning No. 4 singles 6-4, 6-2. Greg Haugen lost No. 3 singles by a score of 6-0, 6-4, in the only other completed match.
Williams opened up by taking all three doubles matches. Delafuente and Jordan Mayer lost 8-4 at No. 1 doubles, while Moreno and Aaron Skinner lost in the No. 2 match by the same score. Haugen and Connor Dunn fell 8-5 on the No. 3 line.
Three singles matches did not finish, as the dual match was called after the clinch by Williams.
Skinner was down 6-4, 5-4 at No. 1 singles, but Trinity was in the lead in the two remaining matches. Mayer took the first set of No. 5 singles 6-3, was edged in the second by a tiebreaker of 7-6, and held a 3-2 advantage in the third. Charlie Curtis battled back at No. 6 singles, after losing the opener 6-4. Curtis took the second set 6-3, and was leading 5-4 in the third.
The Tigers, playing in their 20th NCAA Tournament, received an automatic bid by winning an 18th Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship. The victory came at the Butch Newman Tennis Center last month.
Trinity moved on to the NCAA Regional at Whitewater, Wis., and defeated Ohio Northern (5-0) and Gustavus Adolphus (5-2).
Skinner (Columbia, MO/Rock Bridge), a sophomore, will compete in the 32-draw NCAA Singles Championship beginning Thursday. Last fall, Skinner captured the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Singles Championship.