May 20, 2009


Courtesy of Williams Athletics

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – After going the distance to defeat Denison University 5-4 yesterday, Alison Swain's Williams women's tennis team blanked Emory University 5-0 to advance to the NCAA championship match tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 PM.

The Ephs will face the winner of today's second semifinal – Amherst vs. Chicago -- in their quest to repeat as NCAA champions. Williams was the first NCAA Division III women's team to repeat when they won in 2001 and 2002.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be playing for the NCAA championship," said Swain. "I know how much confidence a 5-4 comeback win can bring to a team and yesterday was a confidence builder for us. Today was a testament to that confidence. Last night the team talked about believing it, that no matter what – just get the job done."

The Ephs opened their NCAA semifinal match vs. Emory by sweeping the doubles matches and took a 3-0 lead into singles play.

Williams trailed early at #2 and #3 doubles. However, at three senior Annie Hancock and first year Kristin Alotta overcame a 4-1 deficit and then broke a 5-5 tie to win 8-5 and secured the third Eph point.

"We didn't take our 3-0 lead after doubles for granted," noted Swain. "I told the team that Emory was more than capable of raising their game in singles play and our kids responded. I'm just so thrilled for the team and so proud of them."

Senior captain Cary Gibson captured the fourth Eph point with a straight set win over Zahra Dawson at two singles, 6-4, 6-4.

First year Kristin Alotta clinched the match for Williams with a straight set victory at number four singles as she downed Lindsay Reidenbach, 6-4, 6-1. With the win Alotta extended her singles win streak to 24 and upped her season singles record to 28-1.

Williams is now 20-2 on the year, while Emory will take a 20-5 record into tomorrow morning's third place match.

Williams defeated Emory earlier this season at Emory in a 5-4 battle over spring break as the Ephs won at one and three doubles and collected singles wins from Nikki Reich (3), Alotta (4) and Hancock (6).

The Ephs number two doubles team of Baljon and French avenged their lone loss of the spring by reversing the score with Emory's Dawson and Mcmanigle. Cary Gibson also avenged her spring break singles loss to Dawson (6-0, 6-3) with her win at two singles.

The Ephs are now 42-13 all-time in NCAA play.