• 7-time NCAA National Champions
  • 5-time ITA National Indoor Champions
  • 6 NCAA Singles Titles
  • 4 NCAA Doubles Titles
  • 39 Individual All-Americans

2011-12 Emory Women's Tennis Season Recap

2011-12 Emory Women's Tennis Season Recap

Led by NCAA Division III Singles Champion Gabrielle Clark, the Emory University women’s tennis team finished third at 2012 NCAA Championships, marking the fourth-straight top-three finish for the team, and the 12th in the program’s history.

After receiving a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament, Emory hosted and defeated Methodist University 5-0 in the second round and seventh-ranked Washington and Lee University 5-2 in the third round to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals in Cary, North Carolina.  After claiming a 5-2 win over 12th-ranked Bowdoin College, the Eagles’ saw their run at an NCAA Championship come to an end with a 5-3 loss to top-ranked Williams College, the eventual National Champions, in the semifinals.  However, the Eagles bounced back the following day with a thrilling 5-4 win over third-ranked Amherst College in the third-place contest, behind a match-clinching three-set win from sophomore Malavika Padmanabhan.  It was the second year in a row that Emory finished third at the NCAA Championships.

In the individual championships, Clark dominated the singles draw to become the first African American NCAA Women’s Singles Champion at any level (Division I, II or III).  In the championship match, the sophomore bested freshman Lok Sze Leung of Middlebury College in straight sets, winning 6-2, 7-6 (1).  Clark ended her season on an 11-match winning streak in singles play, including a perfect 10-0 record in NCAA Tournament action.

It was the fourth NCAA Women’s Singles Championship won by an Eagle, as Clark joined Mary Ellen Gordon (2003 and 2004) and Lorne McManigle (2009) as NCAA Singles Champions.  With Emory’s Dillon Pottish winning the singles title on the men’s side, it marked just the fourth time in NCAA Division III history that the men’s and women’s individual champion has come from the same school.  Emory’s Michael Goodwin and McManigle each won in 2009, while Principia’s Toby Clark and Courtney Allen accomplished the feat in both 1985 and 1987.

Clark also teamed with senior Zahra Dawson to advance to the finals of the NCAA Doubles Championship, marking the third-straight season that an Eagles’ duo advanced to the title match of the NCAA doubles draw.  Although Emory’s pair would drop the championship match in three sets to the team of Laura Danzig and Gabby Devlin from Amherst College, Dawson would set the program record for most doubles wins over a career, as the senior claimed her 105th victory in the semifinals to pass former Eagle Mary Ellen Gordon on the all-time list.  Dawson also ended her singles career with 86 victories, the second-most in school history.

Clark, Dawson and junior Jordan Wylie, who advanced to the second round of the singles draw, all earned ITA All-America honors based on their performances at the NCAA Championships.

Earlier in the season, the Eagles finished second at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships.  With the conference title being contested at a neutral site for the first time ever, the Eagles picked up a 9-0 win over New York University in the first round, and a 6-3 win over 11th-ranked Washington University (Mo.) in the semifinals, before dropping a 5-4 match to the sixth-ranked University of Chicago in the championship match.  It marked just the second time in the conference’s 25 years of competition that Emory failed to come away with the UAA Championship.  Wylie (second singles), Padmanabhan (fourth singles), and freshman Lauren Pinsky (sixth singles) each earned a selection to the all-UAA first team.

Emory finished the season with a team record of 19-6, including a 14-4 record against Division III opponents and a 10-4 mark against ranked Division III squads.  Eight of the team’s victories during the season were shutouts.

In the fall, Emory swept the ITA Regional Championship at home, with Clark winning the singles draw with a 6-3, 6-2 win over teammate Padmanabhan in the championship match, and Clark and Dawson defeating Wylie and sophomore Brenna Kelly, 8-3, in the final match.  Clark and Dawson claimed the ITA Small College National doubles title, becoming the second duo in the program’s history to win the Division III draw.  They would advance to the ‘Super Bowl,’ where they would fall to a duo from Oklahoma Christian College, an NAIA program.  Clark would finish second to Leung in the Division III singles draw.

In addition to her success on the court, Dawson was also recognized on numerous occasions for her academic achievements.  She was named a Capital One Academic All-American for the second-straight season, becoming just the fourth player in the history of the women’s tennis program to be named to the first team.  Dawson was also awarded one of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, marking the fourth time in the program’s history than an Eagle has claimed the honor.  Following her season, Dawson received an invitation to the White House to attend the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Title IX.

The Eagles earned the following honors during the 2011-12 season:

 

All-America (Intercollegiate Tennis Association)

Gabrielle Clark

Chicago, IL (Univ. of Chicago Lab)

Singles (Fall & Spring), Doubles (Fall & Spring)

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

Doubles (Fall & Spring)

Jordan Wylie

Roswell, GA (Centennial)

Singles (Spring)

 

NCAA Championship Participant

Gabrielle Clark

Chicago, IL (Univ. of Chicago Lab)

Singles, Doubles

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

Doubles

Brenna Kelly

North Oaks, MN (Mounds Park Academy)

Doubles

Malavika Padmanabhan

Saratoga, CA (Saratoga)

Doubles

Jordan Wylie

Roswell, GA (Centennial)

Singles

 

All-University Athletic Association

Malavika Padmanabhan

Saratoga, CA (Saratoga)

Fourth Singles

First Team

Lauren Pinsky

Potomac, MD (Winston Churchill)

Sixth Singles

First Team

Jordan Wylie

Roswell, GA (Centennial)

Second Singles

First Team

 

ITA ‘Super Bowl’ Participant

Gabrielle Clark

Chicago, IL (Univ. of Chicago Lab)

Doubles

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

Doubles

 

ITA Fall Small College National Champion

Gabrielle Clark

Chicago, IL (Univ. of Chicago Lab)

Doubles

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

Doubles

 

ITA Fall Small College National Participant

Gabrielle Clark

Chicago, IL (Univ. of Chicago Lab)

Singles, Doubles

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

Doubles

 

ITA Fall South Regional Champion

Gabrielle Clark

Chicago, IL (Univ. of Chicago Lab)

Singles & Doubles

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

Doubles

 

Capital One/ CoSIDA Academic All-America

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

First Team

 

Capital One/ CoSIDA Academic All-District

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)

First Team

 

NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Zahra Dawson

Ft. Washington, MD (The Maret School)