NCAA Championships: Claremont-Mudd-Scripps repeats as D3 women's champs

Victoria Chiesa | May 17, 2023

The USTA National Campus is becoming a happy hunting ground for the women of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College. Twelve months after running the table in Orlando to win the second women's tennis national title in school history, CMS did it again on Lake Nona's courts on Wednesday afternoon.


After CMS beat the University of Chicago 5-1 to win last year's gold trophy, the Athenas beat the Maroons again on Wednesday by a 5-3 final score. The win was doubly sweet for the repeat Division III champs, who lost to Chicago in the final of the ITA Indoor Championships in March. That was their only defeat for the year, and they finish off the 2022-23 academic year at 27-1.

"We're just so excited. This means so much to us, and especially the returners," said CMS junior Sena Selby. "We were going in with the mindset that we were going to make this a war and we were just going to battle and make them feel us and never give up. And I think every single court, regardless of what the result was, just really brought it to them. I'm super happy and really proud to be part of this team."


The California school has now played in the last four Division III national finals. It won its first title in 2018 and finished runner-up in 2019 before two years were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


After winning two of the three doubles matches, all of which went to 8-5 scores, CMS relied on the bottom half of its singles lineup to win the championship. With an exclamation point, junior Nikolina Batoshvili delivered the championship point with a three-set win at No. 5 singles; after she and Miranda Yuan split the first two sets, Batoshvili baked a bagel in the third for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win.

CMS also picked up points from Batoshvili's classmate Selby (6-0, 6-3) and first-year Lindsay Eisenman (6-3, 6-4) at No. 4 and No. 6, respectively, while No. 1 singles was the only match to go unfinished. CMS sophomore Alisha Chulani was authoring a comeback against Sylwia Mikos, and leading 4-6, 6-0, 4-2 with break points for 5-2, when Batoshvili clinched.


Each of two legs of the Athenas' repeat titles were won with very different rosters, but a similar mentality and approach under the leadership of head coach David Schwarz.

"We had a great year last year. We graduated No. 1, No. 2 and three other starters from that team. So we were essentially starting over," he explained. "This team just never conceded anything to anybody and they're trained to play really physical tennis. We want it hot, we want windy, we want it tough because we think we can survive that.


"It doesn't mean we're going to win every time. But the hotter it is and windier it is, we train them to be ready for those challenges. If someone is going to beat us, they're going to have to beat us because they're the better players. We felt like we played great physical tennis."


Chicago wasn't just seeking revenge for its loss in last year's championship. The Maroons were also bidding to end a storybook season undefeated, but with the loss, finish just short of perfection at 23-1. 


"It's been special. It's been a special group all year and even in the last year," said head coach Jay Tee. "COVID was tough and they came back more resilient. But every day this year was special for us. And it was fun together as a group. And just because it wasn't a win today doesn't make this season or what we accomplished during the year any less special."


Though this year's final was a rematch against a familiar foe, both teams noted the differences between their last meeting in Orlando and this one—namely, the historic nature of this year's competition with all three NCAA divisions competing at a single site.

"It was cool. We were here last year and it was fun, but you have this extra excitement around it [this year]," added Tee. "And I told the women before the match, when we walked in yesterday, Texas A&M was walking out and they said, ‘Oh, that's Chicago.’ And it shows that we've earned a place in college tennis and not just Division III, but there's respect on all teams that we can play and we can compete. So that was really cool to see."


For more information, including tickets, draws and schedule, visit the USTA's NCAA Championships homepage. For all the latest news from the Division I, II and III tournaments, visit's news landing page for the event.

Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • Staring down four match points in the NCAA Division I men's final, Georgia's Ethan Quinn was not yet beaten. Read More
  • Freshman Tian Fangran completed a perfect sweep through the 2023 NCAA Division I women's field with a straight sets win over Oklahoma's Layne Sleethe in Saturday's championship. Read More
  • Like in the women's final, a freshman and a senior will play for the 2023 NCAA Division I men's title after semifinal victories by Georgia's Ethan Quinn and Michigan's Ondrej Styler. Read More