The top-ranked NCAA Division-III Emory women’s tennis team had a memorable spring break. The Eagles secured three victories against Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), Amherst College (Mass.) and Wesleyan University (Conn.).
On March 10, the Eagles traveled to Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Fla., where they gained an 8-1 victory against University Athletic Association (UAA) foe Carnegie Mellon. The Eagles began the match with a 2-1 doubles win: sophomore Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico and sophomore Defne Olcay earned an 8-7 victory. Sophomore Stephanie Taylor and freshman Christina Watson won six straight games and recorded an 8-2 victory.
The Eagles won all of their singles matches. Gonzalez-Rico won 6-2, 6-3 in first singles. Senior Daniela Lopez secured a 6-3, 6-2 win and freshman Jessica Fatemi soundly defeated her opponent 6-1, 6-3. Facing strong opponents, freshman Lauren Yoon, freshman Emma Cartledge and Olcay all had strong performances and emerged victorious. Yoon rebounded after losing the first set 2-6 and won the second and third set 6-2, 10-5, respectively. Cartledge played tenaciously after yielding the first set and bounced back with a 4-6, 6-0, 10-7 victory. Olcay narrowly lost her first set in the tiebreaker 6-7, but she triumphed by topping her opponent with 6-0, 10-7 in the next two sets.
Assistant Coach Barbora Krtickova praised the Eagles’ performance during a tough match against No. 11-ranked Carnegie Mellon.
“Carnegie had a good team,” Krtickova said. “We were performing under pressure, and we were able to overcome the tough moment.”
On March 14, the Eagles traveled to Rollins College (Fla.) for a match against No. 3-ranked Amherst, which Emory defeated with an 8-1 victory. The Eagles won all three doubles matches. In the first doubles matchup, Gonzalez-Rico and Olcay won 8-4. At the second doubles, Lopez and Cartledge won their 16th match by a score of 8-3. Lastly, Taylor and Watson won 8-2 and moved to 7-0 on the season.
The Eagles continued their momentum during the singles matches. Gonzalez-Rico won her match as she blanked her opponent in the first set and won the match 6-0, 6-2. Lopez and Olcay both recorded their seventh consecutive singles win. After winning the first set and losing the second in a close tiebreaker, Lopez fought relentlessly in the third set and emerged as the winner with an astonishing 6-3, 6-7, 14-12 victory. Olcay won with 6-4, 6-2. Yoon earned the Eagles yet another singles victory 6-3, 7-5. On the last court, Fatemi fought hard in the tiebreaker of the first set and won her team-best 10th straight singles match, registering 7-6, 6-2.
With no rest, the Eagles carried their excellent performances into the March 15 match against No. 7-ranked Wesleyan. The Eagles notched victories in seven of nine games, and the team took two of the three doubles matches. Gonzalez-Rico and Olcay gained their fourth consecutive victory by a score of 8-6. Taylor and Watson continued their unbeaten spring, moving to 8-0 with an 8-7 at third doubles.
In singles, the Eagles grabbed three straight wins. Gonzalez-Rico won two sets 6-3, 6-3. Cartledge rebounded after dropping the first set to win 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Fatemi never looked back and gained her 11th-straight win, blanking her opponent 6-0, 6-0. Lopez lost the first set but claimed the second and third set 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, and Olcay won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Krtickova praised the team’s efforts over the break and credited their success to their energy.
“We compete as a team, and everyone is involved in single and doubles,” Krtickova said. “They all played really well.”
For her performance, Gonzales-Rico was named the UAA Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week.
After their impressive trip, the Eagles will play two matches against DePauw University (Ind.) and Washington and Lee University (Va.) on March 30. The team will be holding their Senior Day, and Lopez, the lone senior, will be thanked for her contributions during her four years at Emory.