Coming into the 2002–2003 year Emory, while
generally fielding solid teams in nearly every sport, had won just
one Division III national title— by the 1996 women’s
Time to make some more room in the trophy case.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams won Div. III
national titles at their respective championships last month. The
Eagles’ women’s team was particularly proficient, sweeping
the doubles and singles championships as well.
This is the third straight year one school has won the both the
men’s and women’s Div. III team tennis championships.
In 2001 and 2002, Williams (Mass.) pulled the trick.
Junior Mary Ellen Gordon not only led the women’s team to
the championship, 4-1 over Washington & Lee (Va.) on May 16,
but she won the Div. III singles title, defeating freshman teammate
Jolyn Taylor 6-4, 6-1, and teamed with Taylor to claim the national
doubles title, beating Haley Heathman and Liz Bondi from DePauw
(Ind.). It was Gordon’s first national title in singles and
third consecutive win in doubles.
The Brookwood High School graduate (and daughter of Emory Athletic
Director Chuck Gordon) is only the second person in Div. III women’s
tennis history to claim that trifecta. She finished the season with
a singles record of 34-1 and holds Emory’s all-time record
for singles wins (89) and winning percentage (.873). Her 76 doubles
wins ranks third all-time.
As she was after both her freshman and sophomore years, Gordon was
named All-America in both singles and doubles. Her six All-America
honors are the most ever by an Emory women’s tennis player.
Taylor joined Gordon as an All-American in singles and doubles,
and the Eagles’ No. 2 doubles team of Margaret Moscato and
Emily Warburg claimed All-America honors as well. Taylor was named
national Rookie of the Year, and head coach Amy Smith was named
national Coach of the Year. Smith was the Eagles’ No. 1 singles
player during their first national championship season. She is just
the fifth woman in any division to win national tennis titles as
a player and a coach
The Eagles finished the year 24-1, the only loss coming to Div.
II Cal-Poly Pomona. Emory won all 19 matches against Div. III opponents
and gave up more than one point just twice.
In 2002, Emory lost in the championship match to Williams, although
Gordon paired with Anusha Natarajan to take the doubles title for
the second consecutive year.
Emory is the only Div. III school to qualify for the national championships
all 19 years they have been held, and just two schools—California-San
Diego and Kenyon (Ohio)—have more national team titles.
On the men’s side, the Eagles swept the two-time defending
national champion Williams Ephs 4-0 in the finals. On their way
to the victory, Emory steamrolled past Trinity (Texas), 6-1 in the
quarterfinals, and Middlebury (Vt.), 4-1 in the semis. In the championship
match, singles players Mark Odgers (No. 1), Brad Jaffe (No. 3) and
Jesse Ferlianto (No. 6) didn’t drop a set, and the Eagles
swept all three doubles sets. Emory finished the season 16-4.
In singles, Odgers was eliminated in the quarterfinals, and in doubles
Odgers and Alex Jacobs advanced to the semifinals before falling
to the eventual national runners-up Rob Candiotty and Brian Murphy
of Redlands (Calif.).
Odgers and Tyson Ramsey earned All-America honors in singles, and
the No. 1 pairing of Odgers and Jacobs were named All-America in
This was the 14th straight year and 17th overall that Emory had
advanced to the national championship. The Eagles had finished second
twice, in 1996 and in 2002, when they lost to Williams in a heartbreaker,
Like Smith, men’s tennis coach John Browning now has won national
titles as a player and a coach. He was on the UC-Santa Cruz team
that won the Div. III national title in 1989.