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Claremont Mudd-Scripps women’s tennis makes history…again

On a sunny May 25 afternoon in Orlando, Florida, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s tennis team captured the 2022 NCAA Division III National Championship at the USTA National Campus after besting the tournament’s number one seed, the University of Chicago, 5-1.

The Athenas led 2-1 after doubles play and won the first set on all six singles courts to eventually capture the win and title over Chicago, marking the second time the program has won the national championship.

According to Mudd-Scripps, freshman Ella Brissett picked up the clincher during single play on court four with a 6-4, 6-3 win; although Brissett and sophomore Audrey Yoon both had match points on adjacent courts at the same time.

Senior Sarah Bahsoun earned a 6-1, 6-3 win on court six for the third CMS point, and sophomore Nikolina Batoshvili followed that up with a 6-4, 6-3 win on court five to put CMS ahead 4-1.

Though Chicago salvaged the last doubles point, CMS took all the momentum into singles and won the first set at every court, wrapping up the match fairly easily. Senior Crystal Juan set the tone by roaring out to a 5-0 lead on court one during singles, and Bahsoun also got a big lead at No. 6 and took a 6-1 win, Mudd-Scripps wrote in a game recap.

Following the team tournament, seniors Juan and Sydney Lee competed in the NCAA singles championship later that weekend, in addition to Batoshvili and freshman Alisha Chulani who went to the doubles championship.

Lee lost to the eventual singles champion Elle Christensen of Tufts University, 2-0, in the second round on May 27. Juan also fell 2-0 in the second round, but to Rochester’s Josephine Libby.

In doubles play, Batoshvili and Chulani made it to the quarterfinals, but lost to runners-up Erica Ekstrand and Yuu Ishikawa of Williams College, 2-0. Ekstrand and Ishikawa would fall to Elle Christensen and Tilly Rigby of Tufts, 2-0, in the championship game.

But with the national title win over the University of Chicago, CMS finished its season with a 27-3 record and a national title.

The team is said to have come a long way since its fourth-place finish at the ITA Indoor Tournament earlier this season, where the team suffered two of its losses.

At nationals, the Athenas are said to have “rolled to wins over two teams that had not lost to a division III team all year, beating 23-0 [record] Wesleyan in the semifinals 5-0, and then taking down 22-1 [record] Chicago in the finals. After suffering its only loss of the season to Division I opponent, Eastern Michigan, Chicago was on a 22-game win streak — until they met the Athena’s in the Division III championship game.

CMS won its first national title in 2018. In 2019, the Athenas fell in the national championship match to Wesleyan, but were ranked number 1 in the nation in 2020 before the season was canceled due to the pandemic. The 2022 title marked CMS’s second in its last three NCAA tournament appearances.

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