The Tiger men improved on their third-place finish at the ITA National Indoor tournament last season by winning the tournament this yearâ€”Feb. 20-22 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Paul, Minnesotaâ€”for the first time in school history.
â€œThis win was huge for our guys and our program.This team now becomes part of the Trinity legend and history,â€ said menâ€™s head coach Russell McMindes. â€œThey 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.â€
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.
â€œDoubles 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,â€ J. Mayer said. â€œWe can beat you from any spot in the lineupâ€”singles or doublesâ€”on any given day, and that makes us extremely deadly.â€
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.
â€œGoing 3-0 on the weekend was great for my confidenceâ€”last year I felt a little shaky out there,â€ Skinner said. â€œI think winning those matches provided positive energy for the boys to build off of.â€
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 Tigersâ€™ success throughout the weekend. He earned the singles win to clinch all three of the Tigersâ€™ 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.
â€œWinning 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,â€ 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. Maryâ€™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 Kidsâ€™s Day event.
â€œWe are looking forward to Kids on Campus Days when we share the courts with the menâ€™s team competing against Tyler Junior College. We are inviting faculty, staff membersâ€™ children and members of the community to come out and watch the match,â€ said womenâ€™s head coach Gretchen Rush.
The event is part of a United States Tennis Association program that aims Â to expose youth tennis players to college-level tennis matches around the country.