The No. 2-ranked women’s tennis team will be competing in the 25th annual University Athletic Association Championship. The Eagles are the top seed out of eight conference teams and will look to defend their conference title in Altamonte Springs, Fla., from April 26-27.
Other participants in the championship include No.4-ranked Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), No.11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis (Wash. U, Miss.) and No.20-ranked Brandeis University (Mass.).
“I wouldn’t say that what we feel is so much as pressure but, instead, I think this year we have more of a desire to succeed and improve,” sophomore Brenna Kelly said.
Emory is coming off of a 9-0 win over Georgia Perimeter College. The Eagles’ success against Georgia Perimeter was highlighted by junior Jordan Wylie and freshman Lauren Pinsky, who won 8-0 in doubles play.
“The match against Georgia Perimeter was great because we were able to put more of our younger players into the lineup,” Kelly said. “The match was also good for us, especially in doubles, because the players were hard hitters, and this is something that we don’t always see when we play D-3 schools.”
The Eagles are led by senior Zahra Dawson and sophomore Gabrielle Clark.
Dawson’s 6-2, 6-0 win over Georgia Perimeter’s Sadietou Mayou put her in second place on the Emory school singles wins list.
Dawson is also second all-time in doubles victories with 97.
“Every match is a way to prepare for the matches to come, so in that sense, yes, Georgia Perimeter has prepared us going into UAAs,” Dawson said. “Our game plan is just to focus on the specific personal goals that our coaches have given us for our singles and doubles matches. They know that when we meet our goals, we play our best.”
Emory is 13-4 on the season, with quality wins against Johns Hopkins University (Md.), Amherst College (Mass.) and Tufts University (Mass.).
The team has always had one goal though.
“We definitely had a lot of success last year, but our goal is always to win a national championship,” Dawson said. “Throughout the season, we’ve been really focusing on the process, and I think that our preparation allows us to not feel this kind of stressful pressure. Instead, we are prepared to compete and fight to the finish.”
On Friday, April 27, Emory will play its first match of the UAA tournament against New York University (N.Y.) at 1:30 p.m.
The winner of this match will advance to face the winner of Wash. U against Brandeis.
This second-round match will take place on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
— Contact Daniel Baum.