ATLANTA — Behind a match-clinching victory from senior all-American Zahra Dawson, the fifth-ranked Emory Eagles defeated the seventh-ranked Washington and Lee Generals 5-2 to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship.
For the second-consecutive day, rain in Atlanta forced play to the indoor courts at the Woodruff Physical Education Center.
The Eagles jumped out to the early lead, taking two of the doubles contests. The first to finish was the second-doubles match, where Emory’s duo of Brenna Kelly and Malavika Padmanabhan defeated Washington and Lee’s Cameron Dorsey and Patricia Kirkland. The Generals would even the score at 1-1 with a victory at third doubles, as Meghan Buell and Sonja Meighan bested Taylor Brandt and Jordan Wylie 8-4. However, the Eagles would cap of doubles play with a first-doubles victory, as Gabrielle Clark and Dawson claimed an 8-5 win against Lauren Lukas and Trelsie Sadler. The doubles victory was the 100th of Dawson’s career.
In singles play, Clark struck first for Emory, winning the first singles match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4 against the General’s Meighan. At fourth singles, Padmanabhan put the Eagles a point away from clinching the match, earning a 6-1, 6-2 win against Jen Snyder.
Washington and Lee cut the deficit with a win at second singles, where Emory’s Wylie was forced to retire in the second set due to injury, trailing Lukas 6-3, 5-3 when play was stopped.
However, in fitting fashion, it was Dawson who would earn the match-clinching point for the Eagles. Playing in the final home match of her illustrious Emory career, the senior battled to a three-set win, defeating Kirkland 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 to give the Eagles the victory.
Emory raised its record to 17-5 on the season with the victory, while Washington and Lee ended its campaign with a 21-6 record. It marked the fourth-consecutive season that Emory has eliminated Washington and Lee from the NCAA Championship.