May 26, 2010

Courtesy of Emory Athletics

The fourth-seeded Emory women's tennis team has advanced to the championship match of the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championships following an intense 5-4 win over top-ranked Amherst in the semifinals on Wednesday. The victory was the fifth straight for the Eagles and raised their overall record to 22-5 while the Lord Jeffs saw a nine-match win streak come to an end while closing out the year with a 20-3 ledger. Serving as the host of the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals is Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Va.

After dropping the first doubles point of the match at the No. 3 position, the Eagles regrouped to earn the next two points to take a 2-1 margin heading into singles. The No. 1 tandem of Zahra Dawson and Lorne McManigle put Emory's initial point up with their 8-3 victory over Brittany Berkes and Laura Danzig. The Eagles' No. 2 duo of Sabra Rogers and Tshema Nash then gave the Eagles the lead following a tightly contested 9-7 triumph over Jill Wexler and Natasha Brown, their 20th win of the season in 24 decisions.

Emory got off to a slow start in singles as Amherst won the opening set in five of the six matches. Junior Lorne McManigle was the lone Eagle to win her first set and she used that momentum in claiming a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Danzing at the No. 2 spot that boosted Emory's lead to 3-1. However, the Lord Jeffs fought their way back with a straight-set win at No. 6 and a three-set victory at No. 1 to deadlock the affair at 3-3. Senior Tshema Nash bounced back from an opening-set defeat to come away with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 4 against Wexler that upped Emory's lead to 4-3. Amherst countered when Carlissa King posted a three-set win of her own at the No. 2 slot that made the match score 4-4. The outcome of the match and the berth in the finals came down to No. 5 singles where Emory junior Lindsay Reidenbach ran her record to 21-5 on the year with an impressive 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 come-from-behind win against Natasha Brown.

Emory will play the winner of the University of Chicago vs. Williams match for the national crown on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. The Eagles will be gunning for the program's sixth national title and fifth under head coach Amy Bryant. Emory's last national championship in women's tennis came in 2006.