Women’s tennis defends top billing against Emory

Sending a message to every team in Div. III, top-ranked women’s tennis defeated second-ranked Emory 7-2 at home on Sunday as the team maintained its perfect record.

The team’s victory was its fourth over top ten opponents this year, on top of victories over Washington and Lee, Gustavus Adolphus and Pomona Pitzer earlier in the year on the team’s southern swing during spring break. The day before, the team traveled to Smith and defeated NESCAC foe Bowdoin 7-2.

The Emory match started out with the team inside, as the three doubles matches were played on the indoor courts at Chapman Rink. The Ephs jumped out aggressively and helped themselves greatly by taking all three matches, taking a quick 3-0 lead.

“I was extremely happy with the way we played our doubles matches,” said Julie Greenwood, head coach of women’s tennis. “This is probably the best doubles we have played since I have been coaching. In a close match like this, winning two matches helps out, winning three is tremendous. Winning all three gave us a lot of momentum going into singles play.”

Greenwood was certain to point out the strength of the number two doubles team of Tracy Cheung ’03 and Kate Troy ’04.

“Kate and Tracy came out real strong, and I think it helped out the other courts,” Greenwood said. “There were some points where the other matches were close, and the girls looked over and saw how Kate and Tracy were playing, and I think it picked them up.”

Transplanted outside for the singles action, both Emory and Williams took one match early on. Number one Selma Kikic ’02 struggled early against Emory’s strong number one, Mary Gordon, and dropped her match in two sets.

Number three Troy, on the other hand, jumped out early and took the first set 6-0. Her opponent, Julia Jacobs, fought back in the second set, but Troy came through at key points and took the set 6-4 to earn a singles victory for the Ephs.

At number five, co-captain Jasmine Bradley ’02 fought through two closely contested sets with Emory’s Carina Alberelli, but like her teammate Troy, came through at key moments to win her match in two sets, securing the win for the Ephs.

At positions two and four, Julie Mallory ’04 and Steph Hall ’04 both faced hotly-contested three-set matches. Both players took their first sets, but dropped the second to force a decisive third set, where both players displayed much character.

Hall, struggling with errors throughout the match, regained her focus late in the third set and overpowered her opponent to gain a sixth win for the Ephs. Mallory, down for much of the third set, rallied late to take a 6-5 lead in games; she was unable to retain her momentum, however, and eventually fell in the tiebreaker.

In the final match, Brittany Binet ’05 also won her first set and lost her second to force a third set. Displaying a great deal of poise, Binet came through with strong play in the third set, winning the set 6-3 and the match 2-1.

“Brittany’s due a lot of credit,” said Greenwood. “She has struggled a bit in the spring, but she came out ready to play today.

“She has always been a great competitor, and she showed that today. In the six position, you have to be competitive and smart to win those matches, and Brittany was both of those today.”

The day before, the Ephs notched a win over the Bowdoin Bears, again led by strong doubles play. All three teams won their respective matches, either 8-1 or 8-2, while in the singles play, Kikic, Troy, Hall and Binet all took their matches, with Troy and Hall coasting over their opponents. Overall, Greenwood was very pleased with how her team’s season has gone so far.

“Our schedule is in our favor,” she said. “We have faced strong Div. III teams at different points this season, and that’s helped us out. It has kept us focused in practice and forced us to work on things.”

The team will now spend the next week practicing before heading to Middlebury for the NESCAC Championships this weekend.

The Ephwomen will travel to Middlebury as the defending NESCAC Champions.