CLAREMONT, Calif. — Third-ranked Emory picked up its third-consecutive shutout victory of the championships with a 5-0 win against eighth-ranked Washington & Lee, as the Eagles advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals where they will face top-ranked Amherst College.
The Eagles will head into the semifinal match with an overall record of 22-4 after today’s victory, matching the team’s win total from each of the last two seasons, the second-highest mark in the program’s history. Washington and Lee will end its season with an overall record of 20-7.
Emory’s second doubles pairing of junior Zahra Dawson and sophomore Jordan Wylie scored the first point of the match, defeating Washington and Lee’s Jen Snyder and Ellen Yeatman 8-3. The Eagles’s regionally sixth-ranked pairing got off to an early lead, but the 11th-ranked Generals came back, knotting the match at three apiece. However, Dawson and Wylie won the next five games in a row to claim the victory.
The first doubles match was a meeting between two of the region’s top-ranked doubles teams, but Emory’s fourth-ranked pairing of freshman Gabrielle Clark and senior Lorne McManigle prevailed with an 8-3 upset over third-ranked Lauren Lukas and Trelsie Sadler. The Eagles jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the match and never looked back, leading by no less than three games the rest of the contest.
The highlight of the doubles matches came from the third-doubles contest, where freshmen Brenna Kelly and Malavika Padmanabhan claimed a 9-8 (7-4) tiebreaker victory for Emory over Washington & Lee’s Ann Morris and Catherine Reed. The Eagles fell behind 5-1 early in the match, but rallied to take a 7-6 lead. Morris and Reed regained the lead at 8-7, but Kelly and Padmanabhan won their eighth game to send the match into a best-of-seven pro-set tiebreaker. The back-and-forth play between the two teams continued into the tiebreaker, where the Generals notched the first two points, but the Eagles battled back with four-straight points, taking a 4-2 lead. The Generals again scored two-straight, knotting the match at 4-4, but Emory scored three straight to earn the victory and give Emory a 3-0 lead heading into singles play.
Clark, the region’s top-ranked singles player, delivered the fourth point of the game for Emory with a dominating 6-2, 6-0 win in the first singles match over Yeatman, ranked sixth in the Atlantic South. The victory was capped off by regionally 12th-ranked Dawson, who defeated Sadler 6-1, 6-1 in the fourth singles match to clinch the team win.
When play was stopped, Emory’s McManigle was leading 6-2, 3-3 over Snyder in the third singles match, while Padmanabhan held a 6-1, 4-1 lead over Sallie Griffin in fifth singles, and senior Lindsay Reidenbach won her first set 7-6 in sixth singles over Reed. Wylie trailed Lukas by a set in second singles, after losing the first frame 6-4.
The victory sets up a rematch of last year’s semifinal match between Emory and Amherst, a contest that the Eagles came away from with a 5-4 victory. The Eagles are 9-2 all time against the Lord Jeffs, including a 5-1 mark during NCAA Championship play. This will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
Amherst claimed a victory over fifth-ranked Tufts University in its quarterfinal match, winning 5-1.
This will be Emory’s 12th trip to the NCAA semifinals. The Eagles are 7-4 all time in NCAA semifinal matches.