Women’s Tennis Play D-I Schools in Opener
The women’s tennis team, who finished the 2012 season by claiming third place at the NCAA Division III Championships in May, returns to action this weekend. They will be participating in the Atlanta Classic, which is hosted by Georgia State University, this weekend.
“The tournament is a great opportunity for competition, and I am looking forward to seeing our team play,” Head Coach Amy Bryant said.
The tennis team is allowed to play 19 week of the year, and can divide those weeks up throughout the year as it sees fit. Emory divides up the weeks by playing seven weeks in the fall, and the remaining 12 the weeks in the spring.
With the bulk of their season and the D-III National Championships being played in the spring, the team has very different goals for the fall and spring seasons. In the fall, the Eagles plan to focus more on the fundamentals and basics of play.
“We have three real goals for this fall season,” Bryant said. “They center around constant singles play, they center around a breadth of doubles play, and they center around working on our team culture.”
The Eagles will have their first opportunity to work on these goals starting this weekend at the Atlanta Classic. There, the team will compete against Georgia State University, the University of Alabama (Ala.) and the University of North Florida (Fla), all of which are Division-I programs.
“Anytime we face good quality competition that makes them [the Eagles] stronger and better performers when it comes down to competing against the top of D-III for the National Championship,” Bryant said.
Emory will first play its doubles matches on Friday against North Florida, and then face the University of Alabama in the singles round.
On Saturday, the Eagles will play the University of Alabama in the doubles matches, which will be followed by singles play against Georgia State.
Sunday will be the final day of competition, as the Eagles will face Georgia State in the doubles round and North Florida in the singles.
In the matches, the Eagles will have several of their star returning players from last year, which includes the 2012 NCAA Division-III Singles Champion junior Gabrielle Clark. Her win at Nationals to claim the Singles Title marked her 11th consecutive match win, including a perfect 10-0 record during the tournament.
In the fall, Clark won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional singles and doubles titles to earn all-America Honors, which was followed by her claiming all-America status for both singles and doubles in the spring.
Despite her many achievements in the 2012 season, Clark said that the successful year definitely gives her some extra confidence heading into this year, but she also has room for improvement.
“There’s definitely no added pressure, especially not in the fall,” Clark said. “Right now I am just trying to get better than I was at Nationals.”
All-American singles player and senior captain Jordan Wylie also looks to lead the Eagles this year in both seasons. Other returning players that could play in the matches this weekend are sophomore all-University Athletic Association (UAA) player sophomore Lauren Pinsky, and sophomores Allie Damico, Catharine Harris, and Danielle Truitt.
With the returning members, the Eagles also welcome a number of new players in their freshman class, which TennisRecruiting.net has ranked second in Division III.
Included in this new group of fresh faces are Madison Gordon, Marissa Levine, Stephanie Loutsenko, Beatrice Rosen, Annette Sullivan, and Emma Taylor.
“I think they will be really good for us, they are all very solid,” Clark said of the freshman class. “And I think we have a solid team, our top positions all the way to our bottom positions.”
After this weekend’s Atlanta Classic, the Eagles next take to the court the following weekend in the ITA Regional Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama.
—By Elizabeth Weinstein