The women’s tennis team opened up its 2013 fall season this weekend at the United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) South Region Championships. The Eagles traveled to Sewanee University in Sewanee, Tenn.

“We have been playing well considering we have only had a couple weeks of practice,” Head Coach Amy Bryant said. “I am pleased with our performance and our competitive spirit. I’m also pleased with the great team dynamic.”

The Eagles had 11 entrants in the singles draw and six pairs competing in the doubles tournament. Sophomore Beatrice Rosen was seeded first out of 45 players in the singles draw. Making her college debut, Michelle Satterfield received the second seed in the draw.

“I think we are definitely trying to set the tone as far as our team dynamic goes and the way we compete,” Bryant said. “We are setting our team identity.”

The Eagles were dominant on the first day of play with all of their entrants advancing through the draw.

Bryant was very happy with her team’s performance.

“Everyone has done a nice job just getting through the first day of the tournament,” Bryant said. “We had 11 singles players and six doubles teams enter, and we did not lose a single match the first day … It shows the focus we have as a team.”

After a first round bye, Rosen didn’t drop a game in her season debut, besting Sarah Carter of Covenant College 6-0, 6-0 in the second round. Satterfield was perfect as well, winning 6-0, 6-0 against Molly McElvogue of Centre College (Ky.). Gordon and freshman Melissa Goodman both advanced after their first round byes.

The Eagles were solid throughout doubles play as well. Senior Brenna Kelly and Goodman advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-0 win a first round bye. Doubles partners Rebecca Siegler and Satterfield earned an 8-3 win.

After the second day of competition only Eagles remained standing. All four singles semifinalists and both final doubles pairings were Emory athletes.

“The four players who made it to the semi-finals – Madison Gordon, Beatrice Rosen, Melissa Goodman and Michelle Satterfield – all really did a nice job,” Bryant said.

Satterfield won a pair of matches on the final day of play to claim the USTA/ITA South Region championship. She would later win the doubles championship with Siegler.

There were only Emory entrants on the final day of play. The first semifinal match was between Goodman and Rosen.

Bryant said she was not thrilled by the idea of an all-Emory final.

“I do not think it is ideal to play against your teammates by any means,” Bryant said. “We would much rather play against other strong competitors. If playing our teammates is going to give us the best competition possible, then we are willing to do it, and it makes us better.”

Goodman advanced to the finals with a three-set victory over her top-seeded teammate Rosen, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. The other semifinal pitted Satterfield against Gordon. Satterfield fought hard to win this marathon match, lasting four hours and 40 minutes, 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (3).

Despite the short turnaround Satterfield was victorious in the championship, winning in straight sets against Gordon, 6-3, 6-2. Satterfield became the first freshman to win an USTA/ITA Fall South Region Championship since 2004.

“Our two goals for this year are teamwork and toughness, and I think we did a great job of striving towards those goals this weekend,” Kelly said.

In the lone doubles match Satterfield and Siegler defeated Goodman and Kelly in an 8-2 to win the draw.

“I think that everyone on our team is serious about making everyone better,” Bryant said. “Our ultimate goal is to be the strongest team we can be, and that comes from pushing each other day in and day out.”

Satterfield and Siegler will advance to the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships in Fort Meyers, Fla. from Oct. 10-13. The rest of the squad will resume action at the Southern Shootout in Piedmont Park from Oct. 11-13.

By Alexander Del Re 

Photo courtesy of Emory Athletics

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