The No. 2-ranked Emory women's tennis team opened defense of its national title on a successful note Monday, battling through a pair of rain delays and Middlebury College. The Eagles advanced to the semifinal round of the NCAA D-III Championships, while upping their record to 19-3, following a 5-1 decision over the Panthers who slipped to 11-7.
Emory held a 2-1 lead after the doubles portion of the match with its No. 2 team of sophomore Katarina Su and freshman Bridget Harding raising their record to 10-0 (7-0 at No. 2) after making short work of the Panthers' duo of Kaysee Orozco and Jennifer Sundstrom, 8-1. After Middlebury knotted the match following a win at No. 1, the Eagles captured a big point at third doubles when senior Rebecca Siegler and sophomore Melissa Goodman escaped with an intense 8-6 triumph against Alexandra Fields and Lauren Amos, leading by a 3-0 count before seeing the Panthers' tandem claim four of the five next games to take a 5-4 lead. With the match tied at 6-6, Siegler and Goodman scrapped to wins in the last two games to give the Eagles the one-point edge heading into singles.
Shortly after singles began, there was a rain delay of approximately 40 minutes. The teams resumed action before a heavy rain swept through the area, delaying play for 85 minutes, and forcing the match indoors at the Queen City Racquet Club. Junior Madison Gordon put Emory up, 3-1, with a 6-1, 6-1, triumph over Katie Paradies at No. 6, her 12th victory in 13 decisions this year, (8-0 at No. 6). Harding put the Eagles one point from clinching the outcome at No. 5, defeating Margot Marchese, 6-1, 6-3, her 10th straight singles win and 25th in 29 decisions this year. At No. 4, sophomore Katarina Su sealed the deal for Emory with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Orozco, boosting her season mark to 21-7.
The Nos. 1, 2 and 3 singles matches were in process when Su's match ended, and go in the books as unfinished.
Emory will meet No. 3-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (25-1) in Tuesday's semifinal round, with the match slated for an 11:00 am start. The Athenas advanced after posting a 5-1 verdict over Carnegie Mellon.