WINCHESTER, Mass. – The third-seeded Emmanuel Women's Tennis Team came up short on Saturday night, falling to local rival Emerson College in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Semifinals for the second-straight year. After a strong 9-0 win over Anna Maria College in the conference quarterfinals on Wednesday, the Saints suffered a 7-2 loss to second-seeded Emerson on Saturday. The Lions hosted their semifinal match on the six indoor courts at the Winchester Lawn and Tennis Club.
The host Lions got out to a good start in doubles play, notching wins in two of the three matches. Emerson's undefeated top doubles tandem of Lacey Russell (Roswell, Ga.) and Savannah Mosser (Malibu, Calif.) jumped out to a 2-1 lead over Emmanuel sophomore Alex Hadlock (Framingham, Mass.) and junior captain Amanda Woznicki (Bristol, Conn.). The Saints pair then battled back to take a 3-2 lead. Emmanuel continued to lead at the changeover, as the two teams split games and Hadlock/Woznicki went up, 4-3. The momentum swung back across the net and the Emerson duo went on a spurt to take the next four games and a 7-4 match lead. Emmanuel got one back and trailed 7-5, before the Russell/Mosser team took the match and moved to 11-0 in doubles play this season.
In the No. 2 position, Senior captain Jenna Reid (Lincoln, R.I.) and sophomore Jenni Hewes (Cape Elizabeth, Me.) trailed 3-0 to the Emerson team of Alicia Pelligrin (San Antonio, Texas) and Natalie Nicholas (Syosset, N.Y.), before fighting back to win the next two games. These two games were all the Saints would get, as Emerson turned it up and won the next five games to take the 8-2 match win.
Third doubles was all Emmanuel, as the Saints team of Jenny Konecnik (Sparta, N.J.) and Katrina Gaddis (Wayland, Mass.) led end to end in their match with Emerson's Alana Grady (Springfield, Mass.) and Jana Winfield (Andover, Mass.), taking an 8-4 win.
Trailing 2-1, heading into singles play, Emmanuel would need to come back and win four of the six singles matches in order to advance in the tournament. Despite taking the Lions into three sets in three of the heated matches, the Saints would only pick up one more point in singles action.
The hosts notched another quick point, when Mosser topped Woznicki, 6-0, 6-0, in the No. 2 spot. Hewes got one back for the Saints in fifth singles. The sophomore standout took set one, 6-1 and then won by forfeit, as her Emerson opponent was forced to retire due to an arm injury. Emmanuel then trailed 3-2 in the match.
Russell took the 1st set in her No. 1 singles match with Hadlock, 6-2. Hadlock then battled back to take set two, 6-1, but set three went to Russell, 6-1. Konecnik was defeated in straight sets by Nicholas, falling, 2-6, 4-6, in the 5th position and allowing the Lions their fifth and deciding point, as the hosts went up 5-2 in the match.
The matches on the third and sixth courts were very competitive, but with the overall match decided, the third sets were replaced by 10-point tiebreakers in both cases. Reid pulled out a 7-5 first set win over Pelligrin on court three and Pelligrin took set two, 6-4. Pellegrin then won the tie-breaker, 10-2. A similar scenario occurred on court six, this time with Emerson's Winfield taking set one over Emmanuel freshman Daniela Tueme (South Easton, Mass.), 6-4. Tueme would knot the match and force the tiebreaker with her 7-6 win in the second set. Winfield took the win with her 10-6 tiebreaker victory.
Saturday's 7-2 semifinal loss ends the 2012 campaign for the Saints at 11-7. Emerson improves to 8-4 on the year and will now advance to take on the top-seeded Sharks of Simmons College in the GNAC Championship. The championship match will be played tomorrow, October 21st, at 1:00 PM on Simmons' home courts at the Winsor School.