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Carnegie Mellon captures inaugural ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor title

ST. PETER, MINN. – Carnegie Mellon, the tournament’s No. 5 seed continued their impressive march through the inaugural Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III National Women's Team Indoor Championship by garnering its third consecutive upset in as many days to capture the event’s first title with a 6-3 win over No. 2 Emory. Eight of the top 20 teams in Division III women’s tennis squared off against one another to determine the event’s first champion at the Swanson Tennis Center on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.

ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship: Finals
#5 Carnegie Mellon 6, #2 Emory 3

ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship: Semifinals
#5 Carnegie Mellon 5, #1 Denison 4
#2 Emory 8, #3 Mary Washington 1

ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship: First Round
#1 Denison 9, #8 Coe College 0
#5 Carnegie Mellon 6, #4 Pomona-Pitzer 3
#3 Mary Washington 8, #6 Gustavus Adolphus 1
#2 Emory 7, #7 DePauw 2

The third and final win of the tournament was yet another upset as the Tartans knocked off #4 Pomona-Pitzer and #3 Denison to reach the title match where they posted a 6-3 victory over #2 Emory. The win keeps Carnegie Mellon’s dual-match record perfect at 9-0 and gives the program its first ever win over the nationally recognized powerhouse of Emory University.

The Tartans and Eagles could meet again before the end of the year as they've faced off the past three seasons in the finals of the University Athletic Association Championship. The Eagles have won 21 straight Association titles.

Ashley Herrick and freshman Laura Chen made up for a loss in the semifinals versus Denison with the first point (8-5) for the Tartans at No. 1 doubles against the Eagles pair of juniors Tshema Nash and Sabra Rogers, ranked second in the nation.

After sweeping the doubles points to give the Tartans a 3-0 lead heading into singles, freshman Courtney Chin pushed Carnegie Mellon to within one match of the victory with a 6-3, 6-1 No. 3 singles win over Nash which gave the Tartans a 4-0 advantage. The win was Chin's third individual match win of the tournament.

The Eagles regained life as sophomore Lorne McManigle defeated Chen 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 singles, just Chen's third loss of the year. Following McManigle's win, junior Kirsten Hillock dropped Chui at No. 4 singles, 6-4, 7-5, to cut the Tartans lead in half.

With three matches to play and needing one point to secure the first ever national team championship for Carnegie Mellon, Wu earned the deciding fifth point with a 6-4, 6-1 win at the No. 2 position against freshman Zahra Dawson.

Many of the top players in Division III have taken part in the tournament including six singles players currently ranked in the top five regionally. Today’s championship match featured half of the top-ranked field in Lauren Chen of Carnegie Mellon and Lorne McManigle and Zahra Dawson of Emory. McManigle downed Chen 6-1, 6-3, at the No. 1 spot while CMU’s Amanda Wu recorded a 6-4, 6-1 upset over Dawson.

In doubles play, seven teams participating in the championship are currently ranked in the top five regionally. Among these tandems are Chen and Amanda Wu of Carnegie Mellon, McManigle and Sabra Rogers and Sara Vrabec and Lindsay Reidenbach of Emory who participated in Sunday’s finals match. The Eagles may have had multiple teams ranked regionally but the Tartans key to winning the title came down to their stellar doubles play. Carnegie won the doubles point at all three positions. Though the dynamic duo of Chen and Wu did not team up, both were crucial in picking up wins at first and third doubles.

Also taking place Sunday morning was the tournament’s third place match in which top-seeded Denison rolled over No. 3 seed Mary Washington, 8-1. In Saturday night’s fifth and seventh place matches, Pomona-Pitzer and Gustavus Adolphus each won two of the three doubles points en route to victories over DePauw and Coe College, respectively.

This newest addition to the ITA national tournament calendar joins its men's counterpart, the ITA National Division III Men's Team Indoor Championships, which was also hosted by Gustavus Adolphus last weekend, February 20-22 at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter, Minn. In a finals matchup that pitted the top two seeds against one another, No. 2 Emory University upset top-ranked Washington University, 6-3, to capture the team’s third ITA Division III National Men's Team Indoor Championship title.

For complete results and event information, visit www.itatennis.com.