Eagles Pound Pomona-Pitzer for Second Straight ITA Title

The No. 2 Emory University women’s tennis team defeated No. 6 Pomona-Pitzer College (Calif.) to win their second consecutive and fourth overall indoor title in the final round of the ITA Indoor Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn., March 4.

The team cruised through the opening round against No. 17 Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.), winning all nine contests March 2.

The Eagles’ top doubles team of senior Bridget Harding and freshman Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico established Emory’s dominance with an 8-3 victory. Junior Daniela Lopez and freshman Katie Chang earned the second doubles win, followed by another victory from senior Anna Fuhr and freshman Stephanie Taylor to complete the doubles sweep.

Harding and Gonzalez-Rico have been on a tear this season, going undefeated in doubles competition for the season. According to Gonzalez-Rico, practice and extra matches have been a major part of their win streak.

In the singles matches, the six victories came in straight sets. Harding won 6-2, 7-6 followed by Gonzalez-Rico’s 6-0, 6-2 win. Lopez recorded a 6-3, 6-1 win in the third match. Taylor posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory, followed by a 6-0, 6-2 Fuhr win. Freshman Defne Olcay closed out the successful day with a 6-1, 6-0 win.

Coach Amy Bryant saw the win as a great way to evaluate the team’s current standing.

[The tournament] is a great indicator of the talent that we have [and] a great way for understanding what we need to work on,” Bryant said.

The next day, the Eagles won six of nine matchups against Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) in the semifinals.

Emory won two of three matches in the doubles competition. Harding and Gonzalez continued their fine form in an 8-3 victory, while Lopez and Chang earned an 8-5 win. Meanwhile, Fuhr and Taylor stumbled in an 8-5 loss.

Harding, Gonzalez-Rico, Lopez and sophomore Emma Perelman also delivered victories for the Eagles in the singles competition. Harding recorded a 6-3, 6-4 victory, Gonzalez-Rico won 6-2, 6-4 and Lopez capped the singles sweep 7-5, 6-0. Perelman, in champion fashion, thrashed her opponent 6-0, 6-0 to finish off the matchup. Taylor and Olcay dropped matches in the other two singles contests with scores of 7-6 (5), 6-4 and 6-2, 7-5.

After a couple of losses against Carnegie Mellon, Bryant said her team was not rattled and stayed the course.

“I think the key for us was to stay steady,” Bryant said. “It was about sticking to the game plan but adjust to whatever we need to. We’re playing good players.”

In the finals against Pomona College, the Eagles closed out their opponents by securing wins in all their contests.

The Eagles triumphed in all three doubles matches. Lopez and Chang dominated their match 8-0 while Harding and Gonzalez-Rico closed out their match with an 8-5 victory. Fuhr and Taylor recovered from their loss the day before with an 8-7 triumph.

Emory needed two victories to win the championship round in the singles competition. Harding and Gonzalez-Rico sealed the showdown after their 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-3 victories, respectively. The Eagles solidified their top spot with leads in two of the four remaining contests — Fuhr and Perelman both won their matches 6-4, 5-4.

Gonzalez-Rico, who celebrated her first ever win with the team, said that the win was a morale boost for the team.

“[It was our] first tournament win [and a] great start for the team,” Gonzalez-Rico said. “But it’s only the beginning. We still have a lot of work for the rest of semester.”

The next set of matches take place after spring break. Bryant said the team will have a much-needed rest.

“We’ve been going hard four weeks straight now. Breaks are important,” said Bryant. “Everyone is [going] to have their own things [but] we’ll be ready.”

The Eagles, now 4-3 on the season, are set to return to action March 24 against Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.).

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