Freshman Rosen, defending-champion Clark shine for Emory
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Two Emory players have advanced to the quarterfinals of the individual national championship, one rather easily, the other after being a single point away from elimination.
Less than 24 hours after the Eagles fell to Williams in the team championship match, Emory junior Gabrielle Clark and freshman Beatrice Rosen each won a pair of matches Thursday to advance to Friday's quarterfinals of individual play.
Clark, who is the defending NCAA Division III champion and the No. 3 seed in this year's tournament, lost a total of just 10 games in her two matches Thursday, beating Maggie MacPhail of DePauw 6-3, 6-0 in the Round of 32 and Brittni Fausett of Mary Hardin-Baylor 6-4, 6-3 in the Round of 16.
Clark also was seeded third last year when she claimed the national crown.
“I'm happy with my matches [Thursday], they were good and tough and I had to work hard,” Clark said. “Us not winning [Wednesday] didn't make it harder to play, emotionally, but physically it did. I was still playing my singles match [Wednesday] when we ended up losing so it has been physically challenging on my body.
"I am sore in a lot of places right now, but I have been here before. Everyone knows I'm the defending champion, but I like the position I'm in and I like my draw. Having won the national championship last year will give me a lot of confidence this year. I think that I have definitely gotten better and I am more consistent than I was last year. I come to the net more now and more fluidly and I'm a smarter player too."
While Clark won her two matches in straight sets Thursday, Rosen also won her first match rather easily, beating Maegan Zamilpa of Whittier 6-0, 6-3. Rosen's second match, however, tested the Eagles freshman like she had not been tested before.
Playing Lauren Quisenberry of MIT, Rosen dropped the first set 6-0 and faced elimination down 5-3 and to the final point of the second set. Battling her emotions, as well as Quisenberry, she survived match point, won that game and the next two to take a 6-5 lead. Quisenberry, who beat No. 4-seed Megan Tang of Chicago in the Round of 32, forced a second-set tiebreaker, which Rosen opened with a double-fault.
“That's a great way to start,” Rosen said to herself, but loud enough for those nearby to hear. Rosen was aced on the next point to fall behind 2-0 in the tiebreaker, but again rallied and won the second set 7-6, (7-3). Rosen's consistency and emotional stability was too much for Quisenberry in the third set as she won the decisive set 6-1.
“After that first set, I realized that my usual game of moving players around and keeping it deep and being consistent was not going to work on her because she was teeing off on everything,” Rosen said. “I started gong for every shot, which I rarely do. I had to play more to her backhand and really go for it. I had to be more strategic and hit shorter angles to her forehand.
“Before I knew it, I was in the third set and it worked, because she broke down. I got to her in the second set and took away her momentum,” Rosen said. “Once I had it, she started to flail on some balls.”
Rosen is scheduled to play No. 5-seed Jordan Brewer of Amherst in Friday's quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Rosen's teammate Clark is scheduled to take on Ria Gerger of Middlebury.