The Emory University women's tennis team saw its NCAA tournament run come to an end Tuesday afternoon as the Eagles were knocked off by No.-4 ranked Wesleyan University, 5-4, in a four-hour national semifinal affair at Stowe Stadium on the campus of Kalamazoo College.
After being pushed to the brink of elimination trailing the Cardinals 4-1 through two singles matches, the Eagles rallied with three straight wins on courts one, three and six to tie the match at four, turning all attention to court five featuring freshman Jessica Fatemi and WU's Alexis Almy for the decisive match. Almy claimed the first set 6-4 but Fatemi rebounded to start the second, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. However, Almy regrouped and answered, taking the final five games to send Wesleyan to the title match.
Following a pair of 6-0, 6-2 Cardinal victories over senior Daniela Lopez and freshman Emma Cartledge at second and fourth singles, sophomores Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico, Defne Olcay and freshman Christina Watson spearheaded the Emory comeback to even the match at 4-4.
Watson picked up a convincing 6-1, 6-2 win over Alissa Nakamoto at sixth singles before Gonzalez-Rico had an impressive victory of her own on court one. Trailing 5-2 in the first set, she rallied to win five of the final six points including an 8-6 tiebreaker before steamrolling Victoria Yu in the second set for the 7-6 (6), 6-0 triumph. Olcay followed at third singles, defeating Kristina Yu 7-5, 6-4 to force the winner-take-all decision on court five.
The match began with Watson and sophomore Stephanie Taylor leading off the doubles portion by recording the final three games to win the No.-3 match by an 8-4 margin. Wesleyan evened the score with an 8-6 win over Gonzalez-Rico and Olcay before seizing the lead heading into singles as Polina Kiseleva and Venia Yeung defeated Lopez and Fatemi at the second position, 8-5.
Emory finishes the season with an overall record of 20-4 while Wesleyan (19-2) advances to tomorrow's championship match to face the winner of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Middlebury match. Next up for the Eagles will be the individual singles and doubles championships for Gonzalez-Rico, Lopez and Olcay which begins Friday, May 24th at Stowe Stadium.