Emory University Outlasts Tritons for 5-4 Victory In Marathon Match

    In the usually calm sanctuary of Northview Tennis Courts, one might have found junior Kristin Bronowicki hurling both expletives and her racket in frustration at her own play on March 14.

    Bronowicki, who plays tennis with an obvious fervor, partnered with junior Katie McKee to overcome Emory University’s Richelle Marasignanin and Jamie Chan in an exciting 9-7 victory. The match featured several huge rallies, a number of unforced errors and a come-from-behind win for the Tritons.

    However, the hard-earned doubles victory was not enough for UCSD to overcome the three-time defending Division-III champion Eagles, who won the series 5-4 in a four-and-a-half-hour battle. The Tritons dropped four of six singles matches, with No. 5 sophomore Molly Sullens defeating Samantha Shapiro 6-0, 7-5, and No. 6 sophomore Justine Fonte edging out Jenny Moscato 7-5, 2-6, 7-6, to provide the lone tallies in individual play. In doubles play, junior Marsha Malinow and freshman Ina Dan stomped their opponents by a score of 8-2. Fonte and Sullens could not match their singles results, falling in a duel against Linda Tien and Moscato, 8-5.

    Fonte was notably impressive, as she came back from a 4-2 deficit in the third set of her singles match to raise her individual record to 5-0.

    According to head coach Liz LaPlante, the Tritons battled admirably.

    “We, of course, would have liked to win the match, but it was very close,” she said. “Three of the singles matches were in the third set, and we needed to win two to win the match.”

    The match of the day was undoubtedly the No. 1 doubles contest, which pit Bronowicki and McKee against Marasignanin and Chan. After a quick start that put the Tritons ahead 2-0, Marasignanin and Chan fought back to tie the score at 2-2. UCSD seemed to lose its composed form from earlier in the match, and at several points, a clearly frustrated Bronowicki hit the court with her racket and paced while muttering self-motivating criticisms.

    Bronowicki explained her actions as her method to compose herself.

    “I’m not very contained emotionally in any way,” she said. “I let it out, and then I move on.”

    LaPlante agreed that Bronowicki played with unabashed passion, but added that Bronowicki is playing well.

    “She was a little more emotional [on March 14],” LaPlante said. “But, she has been playing excellent doubles and is getting her singles game back after being in Rome all last quarter.”

    The situation did not improve for the Tritons in the fifth game of the match, as Emory sprang ahead after several errors by UCSD. McKee struggled with her serves, double faulting twice and single faulting on three other occasions. She eventually got the ball over the net, but Emory sent it back every time, taking a 3-2 lead in the process.

    Despite losing three-straight games, McKee and Bronowicki refocused their efforts.

    “It wasn’t our strongest performance,” Bronowicki said. “But, we have a strong desire, and it comes out in our tennis.”

    After a brief huddle and an exchange of support, the Tritons bounced back and evened the score at 3-3. Their comeback was short-lived, however, as Emory responded with a win to retake the lead. The next two games had similar results, with the Tritons surging forward to equalize but Emory beating them back.

    In the 10th game, Bronowicki and McKee amplified their intensity, charging forward in an attempt to regain the lead. Facing the prospect of falling by two games, UCSD engaged Emory in a dizzying rally, in which both teams sent the ball back over the net no less than 10 times. Finally, Emory faltered, lobbing the ball high over the net. Bronowicki, realizing the magnitude of the point, rushed the net and swatted the ball beyond the reach of the hapless Eagles.

    From there, UCSD surged ahead to 7-5, but Emory proved difficult to put down, as it clawed back to push the game to 7-7. The Tritons, recounting the eerily similar circumstances from earlier in the match, would not let history repeat itself. In the 15th game, with UCSD serving, Emory mounted its offensive, pounding shot after shot at the Tritons. Bronowicki once again put an end to the attack, sending the ball to the right corner with an emphatic yell.

    With an 8-7 lead and no desire to extend the already lengthy marathon, the Tritons put an end to the Eagles’ chances in a decisively dominant victory in the 16th game. After an initial rally, in which the Tritons worked vigorously to defend their lead, Emory double faulted twice to fall behind in the game. Both teams notched several points, but with UCSD in command, Emory faded at match point, returning a shot long and out for a Triton victory.

    LaPlante was pleased with her team’s efforts against the perennial D-III favorite, and said that the Tritons gained experience from the loss.

    “Right now, the team is young and just needs more match toughness,” she said. “Most of the teams in our conference are so much weaker than us, they don’t give us any competition.”

    Despite some inspiring play from the Tritons, their team loss drops them to 6-4 on the season, but they remain undefeated in league play. The Tritons face league opponent Cal State San Bernardino on March 17.

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