Returning 11 of the 13 members from last year's second-place squad, and adding on one of the top-rated recruiting classes among all NCAA schools, Head Coach Amy Bryant and the Emory University Women's Tennis Team are primed for a run at the program's sixth NCAA Championship during the 2013-14 campaign.
Last year, the Eagles turned in another successful campaign, finishing the year with a University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship and an 18-5 overall record. Emory advanced to the National Championship match, but ultimately suffered a 5-2 defeat to Williams College, which claimed its sixth-straight NCAA title. It marked the fifth-straight top-three finish at the NCAA Championships for the Eagles, and the 13th overall in the program's history.
Emory will be bringing back five of the six singles players from the lineup against Williams - senior Gabrielle Clark (no. 1 singles), sophomore Beatrice Rosen (no. 2 singles), sophomore Marissa Levine (no. 4 singles), sophomore Madison Gordon (no. 5 singles) and senior Brenna Kelly (no. 6 singles) – and four of the six doubles players – Clark and freshman Annette Sullivan (no. 1 doubles), Gordon (no. 2 doubles) and Kelly (no. 3 doubles).
Clark will return for her senior season with Emory, and will be aiming to cap off one of the greatest careers in Division III history with an elusive team title. Clark, the 2012 NCAA Division III Singles Champion, will enter the year with 84 singles wins, 31 shy of the program record held by Mary Ellen Gordon (2000-04) and 86 doubles victories, 19 shy of Zahra Dawson's (2008-12) program-best mark. The 2013-14 team co-captain has finished each of her previous three seasons ranked among the top three in singles play and top four in doubles action in Division III.
Joining Clark as a co-captain of this year's squad will be Kelly, who will enter her senior year with 68 doubles wins, the 14th-most in the program's history, and an .810 winning percentage in doubles matches, the fourth-best mark in Emory history. Adding to the veteran experience will be juniors Allie Damico, Catharine Harris, Lauren Pinsky and Danielle Truitt, who are a combined 59-26 in singles play over their careers.
Emory's five returning sophomores will also look to replicate its success from the 2012-13 campaign. The class was led by Rosen, who was named the ITA Atlantic South Region Rookie of the Year last season, after going 24-9 in singles play and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championships. Gordon proved to be an asset both in singles and doubles play, notching records of 19-8 and 17-14 respectively, while Sullivan finished with a 22-10 record in doubles action and a 9-3 mark in singles play. Levine added a presence in the Eagles' lineup at the end of the season, finishing with a 6-2 record at the third and fourth singles positions, combined, while Stephanie Loutsenko finished the year with a 9-7 singles tally, including a 5-2 mark in dual matches.
Bryant will also welcome in the highest-ranked freshman class in Division III this season, and one of just two Division III recruiting classes to be ranked among the top Division I mid-major programs, according to TennisRecruiting.net. Included in the highly-touted group are Bruna Correa, Michelle DeMeo, Melissa Goodman, Michelle Satterfield, and Katarina Su. In addition, junior Rebecca Siegler will join the Emory squad after transferring from Division I Wake Forest, where she split time in the lineup between third and fourth singles and first and second doubles.
Bryant will begin her 15th season as the program's helm will a career record of 272-73 in dual matches (good for a .788 winning percentage), in addition to leading the Eagles to National Championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and 12 UAA Championships. She has coached her players to NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships on four occasions each, in addition to guiding them to a total of 69 all-America awards and nine conference Most Valuable Player honors. Joining the staff as an assistant this season will be Christy Striplin Lynch, a Georgia Tech graduate who was a key member of the squad's NCAA Division I National Championship in 2007.
Emory will kick-off its fall season with the ITA South Region Championships from September 27th – 29th in Sewanee, Tennessee. Should an Eagle win the singles or doubles draw, she will advance to the ITA Small College Nationals in Fort Meyers, Florida from October 10th – 13th. The rest of the squad will continue to prepare for the spring season at the Southern Shootout Tournament, hosted by Georgia State University from October 11th – 13th, and the Georgia State Fall Invitational from October 25th – 27th.
After winter break, the Eagles are slated to begin their 2014 dual meet season on Thursday, February 20th with matches at Shorter and Berry. Among the spring schedule highlights for the Eagles are the UAA Championships in Altamonte Springs, Florida from April 25th – 27th, and the NCAA Championships, starting with the early rounds from May 9th – 11th and concluding from May 19th – 24th in Claremont, California.