Clark Leads Eagles to Hawaii, UAA Success

The fourth-ranked Emory women’s tennis team spent its spring break in Hawaii and then came back to Emory to host University Athletic Association (UAA) for Tufts University (Mass.). The Eagles swept their set of games in Hawaii, recording a 9-0 victory over the University of Hawaii on Thursday, March 14 and a 4-3 win over Hawaii Pacific University on the following Friday. The second match was stopped due to rain. The Eagles then returned home to sweep Tufts, 9-0 on Tuesday.

“I think that our unity and team bond is really going to make the difference out there,” freshman Stephanie Loutsenko said. “We all support each other and want to achieve the same thing in the end, and it really helps when you know that even though you’re out there playing a singles match and you are by yourself in some ways, you still have the support of 12 amazing girls behind you who are going to fight just as hard as you are.”

The Eagles’ record is currently at 6-2 for the season. Against Hawaii, the three doubles matches were a clean sweep for Emory; with all of the power duos finishing with almost complete game scores.

Freshman Madison Gordon and senior Jordan Wylie came out 8-2 in their first contest. Second doubles combo freshman Emma Taylor and junior Brenna Kelly followed with another 8-2 victory. Rounding out the doubles slaughter with a score of 8-0 was third doubles team consisting of sophomore Danielle Truitt and Loutsenko.

“I think that we’re really starting to work together, and our team unity is really developing which has become more clear in our recent matches, beginning in Hawaii and continuing yesterday when we really kicked off our season with intense Division III team matchplay,” Loutsenko said.

The singles action proved to be just as strong out on the courts. Junior Gabrielle Clark kicked off the victories with a 6-3, 6-3 win at first singles.

“It’s really such a powerful feeling to know that you have the whole team behind you, and everyone is out there playing for more than themselves, and I think we’re at the point where we all realize that,” said Loutsenko.

At second singles, freshman Marissa Levine earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory, followed closely by freshman Annette Sullivan who claimed a 6-1, 6-0 win over her opponent at third singles.

Sophomore Lauren Pinsky contributed a 6-2, 6-1 win at fourth singles, setting the precedent for two more outstanding matches by sophomores Catharine Harris and Allie Damico, earning 6-1, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-2 victories, respectively.

Friday’s rain slowed the Eagles down against Hawaii Pacific.

The women won three out of the four matches in singles play and were able to finish before the rain brought the match to a halt.

At first singles, Clark defeated her opponent 6-4, 6-2, followed closely by freshman Beatrice Rosen who finished with a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles. Gordon kept the competition turning with a 6-0, 6-3 win. Levine, at second singles, went into a third set for the win while Loutsenko was up a full set over her opponent.

The team was up 4-3, when the match was called due to rain.

The women returned from Hawaii over the weekend and dove straight into the NCAA Division III competition against Tufts on Tuesday.

The girls swept through the singles matches, with wins across the board for all six. Clark finished with a score of 6-3, 6-3. Rosen ended with a win of 6-0, 6-3 over her opponent. At third and fourth singles, Wylie and Gordon claimed 6-2, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-3 victories, respectively.

Loutsenko battled through three sets and came out with a final mark of 3-6, 6-4, 11-9. It was the only three-set victory of the day. Kelly contributed a win of 6-2, 6-2 to complete the singles’ success.

The match was opened with doubles play with three hard-played victories. Clark and Sullivan finished with an 8-5 win at first doubles. Wylie and Gordon fought together for an 8-6 score at second doubles. Rounding out the doubles matches were Taylor and Kelly, ending strong with a score of 8-3 at third doubles.

With an impressive 15-1 mark in singles matches over the last three matches, the Eagles can now turn their attention to their upcoming match against Amherst College (Mass.) at the Woodruff P.E. Center (WoodPEC) at 2 p.m. today.

— By Nicola Braginsky