SKILLMAN, N.J. – After tying the school record for wins in a single season and advancing to the third round of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year, the Cal Lutheran men’s tennis team finished ranked seventh in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III Poll released earlier this week. It’s the highest final season ranking for the Kingsmen since 2010 when they also finished seventh.
In the ITA’s West Region rankings, Cal Lutheran was second in the poll just behind National Runner-Up Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
CLU also had two individual players ranked in the year end poll with Nicholas Ballou finishing as the No. 3 player in the country. Teammate Ray Worley was 28th and together the pair finished the season as the No. 3 doubles team in the nation.
It was a banner year for the Kingsmen, navigating a difficult schedule and ending with a 19-5 record including 8-2 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The 19 wins tied for the most in a single season dating back to 1992. More impressive, the Kingsmen scored 11 victories over ranked opponents including a 5-4 upset of eventual National Champion Williams (Mass.) in late March.
During the SCIAC Championships, Cal Lutheran reached the finals for the second consecutive year before narrowly falling to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 6-3.
As a result of the challenging regular season schedule, Cal Lutheran was able to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Championships where they avenged a regular season loss to UC Santa Cruz in the second round, defeating the Banana Slugs 5-2. With the win, the Kingsmen advanced to the West Regional Final against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who this time ended CLU’s season with a 5-1 victory.
Williams finished atop the poll after winning its first national championship since 2002. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who fell to the Ephs 5-2 in the finals, came in second while Amherst, who CLU also defeated during the regular season, finished third. Rounding out the top five was Washington University St. Louis in fourth and Kenyon in fifth.