Oct. 23, 2011
DORCHESTER, Mass. - The third-seeded Emmanuel College Saints were defeated by second-seeded Emerson College on Saturday night in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tournament semifinals. The 5-4 nail-biter was hosted by the Lions and a packed gallery overlooked the indoor courts at the Sportsmen's Tennis Club in Dorchester. This was Emmanuel's second consecutive year in which the Saints were eliminated by a 5-4 loss in GNAC tournament play.
The match featured the host Lions gaining a 2-1 edge over the Saints by capturing two of the three doubles points to kick off the match. Emmanuel showed poise and perseverance to claw back and snag three of the six singles matches. The three-hour match came down to the wire and finished with a three set battle at top singles and a tie-breaker loss for the Saints in the third slot.
In doubles play, Emerson started off strong as the Lions' number one duo of Lacey Russell and Savannah Mosser improved to 10-2 on the year, earning an 8-1 win over Emmanuel's Taylor Dey (Woodbridge, Conn.) and Jenny Konecnik (Sparta, N.J.). The Saints picked up their first point of the night, when freshman Alex Hadlock (Framingham, Mass.) and sophomore Amanda Woznicki (Bristol, Conn.) combined for an 8-4 second doubles win over Natalie Nicholas and Alicia Pellegrin. The Lions picked up the win at third dubs, as Gina Veramo and Alanna Grady defeated Emmanuel's pair of Jenni Hewes (Cape Elizabeth, Me.) and Jenna Reid (Lincoln, R.I.), 8-5.
The Lions then added to their 2-1 edge with a solid 6-0, 6-1 win in the No. 2 singles spot, when Mosser downed Hadlock in straight sets. Trailing 3-1 in the match, Emmanuel fought back to grab the next three wins at fourth, fifth and sixth singles in route to a 4-3 match lead with two singles matches remaining.
The Saints' comeback featured a straight set win by Konecnik, who defeated Jana Winfield, 6-3, 6-0, in No. 5 singles. Hewes earned a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Grady in the sixth spot to finish a stellar rookie campaign at 13-1 on the year. Reid powered past Nicholas for a 6-2, 6-3 win in fourth singles and Emmanuel led, 4-3.
All eyes then turned to courts one and three, where battles ensued between Russell and Dey at first singles and Woznicki and Pellegrin in the third slot. The gritty top singles match saw Russell storm out to a 6-0 win in the first set, but Dey showed icy calmness in the second set to fight back and capture a 7-5 win over the GNAC Player of the Year, pushing it to a third and deciding set. Russell handled the pressure well and took a 6-1 win in the third to solidify Emerson's 4th point of the match.
With the score knotted at four apiece and the tension spiking, the fate of the match fell on the court three decision between Pellegrin and Woznicki. With both teams surrounding them, the two players battled through a first set tiebreaker, which saw Pellegrin snag a 6-6 (7-5) win. With the match riding on her shoulders, Pellegrin then earned the heroics as she defeated Woznicki, 6-4, in the second set and earned the Lions' 5th and deciding point of the night.
Emerson will now advance to take on the top-seeded and defending champion Sharks of Simmons College on Sunday afternoon for the GNAC Championship. The match will be played at 1:00 PM on the courts at the Winsor School. Emmanuel ends its 2011 season with 13 wins and just 3 losses.