ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The University of Chicago women's tennis team came within just a few points of completing one of the biggest upsets in University Athletic Association history, but it was top-ranked Emory who came out on top in Saturday's title match, 5-4.
The #12 and 3-seed Maroons (14-5) gave the No. 1 and top-seed Eagles (17-3) all they could handle, as UChicago mounted a comeback after falling behind 2-1 after doubles.
The UChicago No. 3 doubles squad of first-years Nicole Semenov and Lauren Park kept their hot streak alive, winning their third match of the tournament by a score of 8-6. Semenov was the first to win a singles match, doing so in straight sets at No. 5, but Emory again took a 3-2 lead with a win at No. 2.
The Eagles appeared to gain the momentum with a straight-set win at No. 1 to go up 4-2, but UChicago's Annika Pandey – a day after earning the clincher against Brandeis – came out on top in a shortened three-set win at No. 6 and Park grinded out her own three-set win at No. 3, winning by scores of 6-2 and 6-3 after dropping the opener.
With the teams tied at 4-4, first-year Eugenia Lee nearly pulled off the win in a marathon match, but Emory's Jessica Fatemi was able to hold on in the No. 4 spot to win, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-4.
"The team battled so hard today and were within a few points of knocking off the top team in the country – we as coaches, couldn't be any prouder," Head Coach Jay Tee said.
"I think we proved to ourselves just how good we actually are and will go forward with more confidence and more motivation to continue to working towards our goal of winning championships."
The Maroons took runner-up honors for the third-straight season and will await a potential at-large bid into the NCAA Division III Championships, set to begin May 10.
Title Match (at Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
1. Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico (EUW) def. Marjorie Antohi (UCW) 6-1, 6-2
2. Daniela Lopez (EUW) def. Catherine Xu (UCW) 6-2, 6-0
3. Lauren Park (UCW) def. Defne Olcay (EUW) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
4. Jessica Fatemi (EUW) def. Eugenia Lee (UCW) 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-4
5. Nicole Semenov (UCW) def. Emma Cartledge (EUW) 6-0, 6-1
6. Annika Pandey (UCW) def. Lauren Yoon (EUW) 6-2, 4-6, 3-2, retired
1. Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico/Defne Olcay (EUW) def. Xu/Lee (UCW) 8-6
2. Daniela Lopez/Jessica Fatemi (EUW) def. Daryn Ellison/Antohi (UCW) 8-3
3. Park/Semenov(UCW) def. Christina Watson/Stephanie Taylor (EUW) 8-6