The No. 2-ranked men’s tennis team (18-0) swept the University of Rochester 9-0 in day one of the University Athletic Association (UAA) Tennis Championships Thursday.
Emory has won 21 of the past 22 UAA conferences.
The tournament began yesterday and will continue through April 29. It is being held at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The hosts for the tournament are the University of Chicago and Emory.
Emory’s flawless record earned it the No. 1 seed in the tournament. In the opening round at 9 a.m. yesterday, the Eagles played No. 8 seed Rochester (N.Y., 6-12). Emory won by a 9-0 margin.
Emory began the match by taking a 3-0 lead in doubles, losing just five games along the way.
Seniors Chris Goodwin and Will Humphreys won on the No. 1 doubles line, as did junior Elliot Kahler and freshman Ian Wagner on the No. 2 line. Senior Dillon Pottish and freshman Brian Kowalski remained undefeated playing No. 3 doubles.
The Eagles won all of their singles matches in straight sets. Goodwin and Pottish played on the first and second lines, while freshmen Kowalski, Wagner, Eric Halpern and Alex Ruderman played Nos. 3-6.
No. 2 seed Carnegie Mellon (Pa., 12-6) defeated No. 7 seed New York University (N.Y., 9-5) 5-4.
Third seed Washington University in St. Louis (Miss., 13-5) beat sixth seed Brandeis (Mass., 4-12) 8-1.
No. 4 seed Case Western (Ohio, 13-7) prevailed against No. 5 seed University of Chicago (9-8) 6-3.
In order to win the tournament, Emory must win three matches in three days.
Even though the UAAs this year will pose more of a challenge than in years past due to the higher than usual number of nationally ranked opponents in the field, the Eagles are still favored heavily to win.
The Eagles have had much success in the UAA’s, winning 21 of the last 22 championships. Their lone loss came in the 2009-2010 season at the hands of the rival Washington University in St. Louis Bears.
However, the Eagles regained the UAA championship last season when current senior captains Dillon Pottish, Chris Goodwin and Will Humphreys led the Eagles to victory.
In last year’s tournament, Pottish, who is currently the No. 1-ranked player in the nation, was named Most Valuable Player.
Additionally, Emory’s coaching staff, led by Head Coach John Browning, was named the Coaching Staff of the Year.
Pottish and Goodwin topped the All-Association First Team as the top first and second singles players, respectively.
Furthermore, Goodwin needs two more victories in singles play to match the school’s all-time record of 99 career singles victories.
With the coaching staff back and another year of experience for Pottish, Goodwin and Humphreys, the Eagles feel poised to win the UAAs.
But despite their status as heavy favorites and their perfect record, the team is avoiding complacency.
“It is tough to be disappointed with an undefeated record thus far in the season. We feel confident as a team, but we are not stagnant in our development,” said senior captain Will Humphreys. “We are always looking to improve our games so that we can peak at the right time of the season: nationals.”
The Eagles are paying particular attention to doubles and to the health of their players.
“There are many areas we still need to address. Doubles is always key, so we spend a fair amount of time working on our teams,” Head Coach John Browning said. “Also, a big key is staying healthy. It’s a long season, and a lot of our guys are battling nagging injuries.”
This will be the last season together for the trio of Pottish, Goodwin and Humphreys, who will all graduate in May.
Pottish has garnered many accolades since transferring from the University of Portland in 2009.
Goodwin has battled many injuries but still is within inches of becoming Emory’s all-time career singles wins leader.
Humphreys walked onto the team and overcame illnesses and injuries to be a captain.
Despite their different pasts, these captains have instilled in their team a sense of perseverance, professionalism and work ethic.
Before they depart, they would like to leave as UAA Champions and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champions.
“I want to be remembered as a member of the team who won the National Championship in 2012,” Goodwin said. “Me, Will and Dillon want to lead this team to a national title.”
— Contact Zonair Khan.