Emory Women’s Tennis Finishes Third at the D-III Championships
Emory University sophomore Malavika Padmanabhan battled through a pair of rain delays and a change of venue to win the fourth singles match in three sets, giving the Eagles a 5-4 win over Amherst College and third place at the 2012 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championships.
Emory has now finished third in Division III each of the last two seasons, and it was the 12th-top-three finish in the programs history. The Eagles have finished third or better at each of the last four NCAA Championships.
Emory jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play, notching wins at the top-two matches. Gabrielle Clark and Zahra Dawson claimed an 8-3 win over Laura Danzig and Gabby Devlin at first doubles, while Padmanabhan and Brenna Kelly defeated Zoe Pangalos and Jennifer Newman 8-6. Emory's only doubles blemish came in the third match, where Caroline Richman and Safi Aly defeated Jordan Wylie and Allie Damico 8-1.
Clark would once again claim a win at first singles for Emory, winning 6-3, 6-0 against Danzig to give the Eagles a 3-1 edge over Amherst. However, Amherst would claim the next three singles matches to take a 4-3 lead, putting the Jeffs just a point away from winning. At sixth singles, Aly claimed a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Lauren Pinsky. Devlin followed shortly thereafter with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Kelly. Caroline Richmond would push Emory to the brink, defeating Dawson 6-2, 6-2.
The Eagles would need to win the two remaining matches to claim the team victory. However, with both the second singles match between Wylie and Newman and the fourth singles contest between Padmanabhan and Pangalos going into a third set, bad weather in the area forced play to stop. When the delay occurred, Wylie was leading 5-2 in the third set, while Padmanabhan was on top 2-1.
After a stoppage that lasted a little over an hour, Wylie would quickly clinch her match, winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to even the team score at 4-4, and shift the team-victory deciding match to Padmanabhan and Pangalos at fourth singles. The third set was played until the score was 4-2 before another rain delay stopped the match. After another hour-long delay, play resumed at the indoor courts at Duke University, where Padmanabhan finished off Pangalos, winning 6-0, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to complete the come-from-behind win for the Eagles.
Emory's season came to a close with a 19-6 overall record, while Amherst finished the year at 18-5.
Action at the NCAA Championships in Cary, NC will resume tomorrow with the Individual Championships. The first round of singles play will begin at 10:00 AM, while the second round is slated for a 1:30 PM start, and will be followed by the first round of the doubles draw at 4:00 PM.
In the singles draw, Clark will open play against Amherst's Newman, facing the winner of the first-round match between Kenyon's Amy Schlessman and Texas-Tyler's Amy Friesenhahn should she win. Meanwhile, Wylie will open singles play against Washington University's Natalie Tingir, playing the winner of the first round match between Middlebury's Lok-Sze Leung and Pomona-Pitzer's Jamie Solomon should she win.
In the doubles draw, Clark and Dawson will take on Lee Ford and Nataly Mendoza of Skidmore in the first round on Thursday, while Kelly and Padmanabhan will face Kalla Shaefer and Alexandra Bayliss of Wisconsin-Whitewater in their first-round match.
Individual Championship Draws: Women's Singles | Women's Doubles