The Tiger men improved on their third-place finish at the ITA National Indoor tournament last season by winning the tournament this year””Feb. 20-22 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Paul, Minnesota””for the first time in school history.
“This win was huge for our guys and our program.This team now becomes part of the Trinity legend and history,” said men’s head coach Russell McMindes. “They now know they are capable of reaching their goals. They also know there is still a lot of season left, and things will only get harder from here.”
The Tigers entered as the No. 1 seed and beat host, Gustavus Adolphus, 6-3 in the first round.
Trinity took the 2-1 lead after doubles with Aaron Skinner and Jordan Mayer winning 8-5 at No. 1, and Adam Krull and Clayton Neiss winning 8-6 at No. 2. Charlie Curtis and Chas Mayer fell 8-2 at No. 3.
Trinity had the early 4-2 lead after Krull won 7-5, 6-1 at No. 1 and Skinner won 6-4, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.
Gustavus Adolphus kept it close after Jordan Mayer lost 6-4, 6-2 at No. 3 and Neiss lost 6-3, 7-5 at No. 4, but the Tigers closed out the match with wins from Curtis at No. 5 (6-1, 6-1) and Chas Mayer at No. 6 (6-4, 6-2).
In the semifinals the Tigers beat No. 4seeded Johns Hopkins University 6-3.
Again they went up 2-1 after doubles. Jordan Mayer and Skinner won 8-1 at No.1 and Krull and Neiss won 8-4 at No. 2. Chas Mayer and Curtis were edged 9-8 at No. 3.
In singles, the Tigers took an early 4-2 lead again. They won 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 and 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3. Hopkins earned their first singles point with a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 1. Hopkins closed the gap to 4-3 with a 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 4.
It came down to the final two singles matches to determine who would play in the Championship Match. At No. 5, Curtis dropped the first set 6-3, and had to win a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-2) to stay in the match. He then took the third set 6-2 to clinch the match for the Tigers and send them to their first Championship Match in school history.
Chas Mayer also came back from a set down to win in three (4-6, 6-4, 6-4) at No. 6.
In the Championship Match the Tigers defeated No. 3 seeded Emory University 5-4. For the third time, they took the 2-1 lead after doubles.
“Doubles is always very important, and we pride ourselves on being a solid doubles team that can go out and take the lead early in a match,” J. Mayer said. “We can beat you from any spot in the lineup””singles or doubles””on any given day, and that makes us extremely deadly.”
The first match was an 8-6 win for the Tigers at No. 3. Emory evened the match with an 8-5 win at No. 1. Krull and Neiss came back from 0-3 to get the 9-7 win at No. 2. Emory got the first win at No. 3 with 6-4, 6-4 to tie the overall score at 2-2. At No. 2 singles, Skinner split the first two sets 6-1, 6-7 (2-7). After losing the tiebreaker, he came out strong and earned the 6-1 win in the third to get the point for the Tigers.
“Going 3-0 on the weekend was great for my confidence””last year I felt a little shaky out there,” Skinner said. “I think winning those matches provided positive energy for the boys to build off of.”
With the win, he was 5-1 on the weekend and undefeated in singles at the No. 2 spot.
The overall score was tied 3-3 after Neiss fell 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4.
Krull gave the Tigers the lead again with a tough 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win at No. 1.
Curtis was instrumental in the Tigers’ success throughout the weekend. He earned the singles win to clinch all three of the Tigers’ victories including his 6-4, 6-3 win to clinch the title for the Tigers. He was also undefeated in singles at No. 5 this weekend.
In the final match, Chas Mayer fell at No. 6, 6-2, 6-3.
“Winning this tournament is a great confidence-booster for the rest of the season, but we did what we were supposed to do. Winning this just increases the target that is already on our back,” Skinner said.
The men return to action at 3 p.m. Friday, March 6, at home in a rematch against Tyler Junior College (TJC).
The women play at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at St. Mary’s University. At noon Sunday, March 1, they open their home schedule against Rollins College. They will also play at 3 p.m. Friday, March 6, at home to face-off against TJC.
At the match March 6, the women will host a Campus Kids’s Day event.
“We are looking forward to Kids on Campus Days when we share the courts with the men’s team competing against Tyler Junior College. We are inviting faculty, staff members’ children and members of the community to come out and watch the match,” said women’s head coach Gretchen Rush.
The event is part of a United States Tennis Association program that aims to expose youth tennis players to college-level tennis matches around the country.
Sarah Farrell is a Sports Reporter for the Trinitonian. She is a sophomore communications major with a sports management minor. She is from Buda, Texas.