Nothing like the real thing
Levine felt the heat in the Emory's final match against Amherst
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Emory attempts to simulate pressure at practice.
But there is nothing like the real thing.
The Eagles experienced plenty of pressure Tuesday on their way to edging Amherst 5-4 in the semifinals at Kalamazoo's Stowe Stadium. And no Eagle felt more pressure than freshman Marissa Levine.
Levine, a native of Pinecrest, Fla., rallied from a set down to defeat Amherst's Caroline Richman 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 in the match that clinched the victory for Emory. Levine led 5-0 in the second set before Richman rallied to force the tiebreaker.
“As long as she played her game I was confident in her,” Emory senior captain Jordan Wylie said. “She had the second set, but then wavered a little bit but we were still really confident. We do practice pressure points in practice, where one point takes a match, but there is nothing like the real thing.”
Emory, which won four consecutive national championships from 2003-06, will square off Wednesday against Williams, which has won the last five Division III national titles. Williams dumped Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-1 in Tuesday's other semifinal.
“When you get to this point in the tournament, all you can think about is the point that is right in front of you,” said Emory coach Amy Bryant, who was the first woman in the history of the NCAA to win a national championship as a player and as a coach. “If you start thinking about what was or what could be, you lose focus on what is right in front of you. That is what we are going to have to do tomorrow.”
Williams defeated Emory 6-3 earlier this season, but Emory played without two of its usual starters.
“Not everyone was healthy, so we played them with a different team,” Wylie said. “Our match against Middlebury [a 5-2 victory] helped us [Tuesday] and [Tuesday]'s match will help us for [Wednesday]. We trust each other. Trust is definitely one of our team themes.
“We are confident and disciplined and we have a group of girls who just enjoy playing tennis.”
Emory's Gabrielle Clark and Annette Sullivan won at No. 1 doubles Tuesday, while Eagles Brenna Kelly and Emma Taylor won at No. 3. Clark and Kelly also won their semifinal singles matches.