Women’s Tennis Sweeps ITA Regionals
This weekend, the women’s tennis team competed in their first Division III competition of the year. The Eagles won both the singles and doubles draws at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Fall South Regional at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala.
This marks the 11th straight year that an Eagle has won the singles title and sixth consecutive season in which Emory athletes have won both draws.
Head Coach Amy Bryant was very happy with her team’s performance this weekend, but she noted how this tournament is just a stepping stone in the process for improvement.
“We have a great group of girls that are strong and understand team work,” Bryant said. “We are going to learn a lot this year and this tournament gave us a chance to see where we stand and see what we have to work on.”
Bryant was very pleased with the way her team understood the concept of teamwork, even at an individual tournament.
“They are truly getting it,” Bryant said.
Defending national champion and junior Gabrielle Clark came away with the singles championship and teamed with freshman Emma Taylor in winning the doubles draw.
Clark is the first Eagle to be champion in both draws since Lorne McManigle (’11C) managed the feat in 2008 and 2009.
“I hope my wins showed the rest of my team how competitive Emory is and how we have the potential, if everyone works hard, to be national champions in the spring,” Clark said.
According to Bryant, Clark’s titles in both draws will provide a lot of confidence for the team.
“It shows other teams that we are here to play and we want victory,” Bryant said. “Her ability to come through and be such a strong player out there really provides a relief for the rest of the team.”
Clark and Taylor were the second seeded team in the doubles draw and defeated the fourth seeded Sewanee team in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
“Taylor and Clark performed very consistently throughout the tournament,” team captain and senior Jordan Wylie said. “Taylor, as a freshman, really stepped up and they’re going to be contenders.”
It was an all-Emory singles final with Clark and Wylie. They both won their semifinal matches earlier in the day and were ready to compete with each other.
Clark claimed victory over her teammate to win the singles title for the second straight year. An all-Emory final is something to which Bryant has become accustomed.
“This is not the first time we’ve had two Emory players in the final, because we have two of the strongest players in the league playing for our team,” said Bryant.
From the start of the tournament, the team’s play was dominant. They cruised through day one with five Eagle teams advancing to the quarterfinals.
Clark and Taylor, after easily winning their first match, faced Emory sophomores Allie Damico and Catharine Harris in the quarterfinals.
Harris and Damico had won their first round match in a close tiebreaker. Sophomore Lauren Pinsky and freshman Beatrice Rosen also advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-2 win.
In singles play, the top-seeded Clark won her match 6-0, 6-2 and Wylie won her match 6-3, 6-2 and advanced to the round of 16.
Damico cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win to also advance.
After the second day of play, Clark, Wylie and Taylor were all still alive. Clark and Taylor advanced to the finals by beating Emory teams in the quarterfinals, 8-1, and semifinals, 8-3.
During singles play that day, Clark and Wylie advanced to the finals with easy victories. Clark won 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 while Wylie won 6-0, 6-3. Wylie was pleased with how the team performed at the tournament.
“Overall, the team played very well. Our freshmen performed well in our first D-III competition,” Wylie said. “As a team, we have room to grow and bring it to the next level for the spring.”
Emory’s next match is not until Oct. 7. They will be playing Washington and Lee University (Va.) at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.
— By Alexander Del Re