Jeff Rally Falls Short Against No. 4 Emory, 5-4

Contact: Ben Badua

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Rallying from a 2-1 deficit after doubles play, the top-ranked Amherst women's tennis team took a 4-3 match lead but could not complete the comeback, dropping a heart-breaker to No. 4 Emory, 5-4, in the national semifinals at Stowe Stadium.

Also suffering a 5-4 loss to the Eagles in last year's third-place match, the Jeffs fell to 20-3, while Emory upped its overall mark to 18-4. The Lord Jeffs will wrap up their 2012-13 season in tomorrow's consolation match slated for 8:30 a.m., while Emory advances to the national championship scheduled for 11 a.m.

Staking the upset-minded Eagles to an early lead, Brenna Kelly '14 and Emma Taylor '16 dispatched of Safi Aly '15 and Caroline Richman '13 at third doubles, 8-2. Riding a 14-match win streak into today's contest, the Amherst tandem fell to 17-9, having suffered its first loss since a Mar. 23 defeat to Johns Hopkins' Abby Clark and Stephanie Retting.

Putting the Purple & White on the board, Jen Newman '14 and Zoe Pangalos '14 edged out a 9-7 decision over Madison Gordon '16 and Jordan Wylie '13. Emory responded with another big win, this time at first doubles as Gabrielle Clark '14 and Annette Sullivan '16, the ITA Atlantic South's third-ranked pairing, ousted Jordan Brewer '14 and Gabby Devlin '14, 8-6. The top-ranked team in the northeast, Brewer and Devlin fell to 18-4, having suffered just their second loss to a Division III opponent.

Kick-starting the Amherst comeback, Sue Ghosh '16 bested Wylie, 6-2, 6-3, at third singles. Newman then made quick work of Beatrice Rosen '16 in the second slot, 6-2, 6-4, to improve to 16-8 on the year. The top-ranked singles player in the Atlantic South, Clark handled Brewer 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, at the top of the order to even the match at 3-3. 

Losing the first set of her fifth singles match, 6-2, Devlin earned a pair of hard-fought wins in the following two frames, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), to put the Jeffs back on top. Battling back from a 6-3 first set loss of her own at No. 4, Marissa Levine '16 turned the tables on Richman, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, once again deadlocking the match as all eyes turned to sixth singles.

With Kelly taking the first set from Pangalos, 7-5, the Amherst junior evened things up with a 6-4 win in the second. Kelly answered by taking a commanding 4-1 edge in the third frame before closing out a 6-3 triumph to clinch the match.