Women's Tennis Road to a Title

Women's Tennis Road to a Title
When Head Tennis Coach Kethan Darbar took over the women's program in 2015, there was only one player on the team. With competition fast approaching in the spring, he brought in Chloe O'Connor as his first recruit. The rest of his lineup consisted of Emmanuel students who were convinced to join the team, some who have never even played before. As a result, the team didn't do to well and finished the season with a record of 0-18. 
 
Three years later, that very first recruit clinched the 2019 Conference Carolinas Women's Tennis Championship in the teams first year of post season eligibility.
 

"We didn't have a team," senior, Chloe O'Connor said. "We were recruiting whoever wanted to join, so it has been an amazing journey getting to where we are at today."

Head Coach Kethan Darbar couldn't be prouder of how the Lady Lions performed this year.

"It is an amazing feeling and a very special moment for the program for sure," he said. "We worked hard to earn the title this year for sure, but realizing how far we came and the journey we had up to this date makes everything extra special for us."

The Lions put up an impressive 9-2 conference record this season before cruising to three straight 4-0 wins in the Conference Tournament. 

The roots were planted back in 2015 when Coach Kethan brought in his core group of girls consisting of Chloe O'Connor, Fantine Botella, Katharina Kiderlen, and Pearllan Cipriano. Since then, these four seniors have led the Lions to record breaking performances, an appearance in the NCCAA National Tournament Semifinals, and most recently a NCAA DII Conference Championship.

"I am extremely grateful for having such an amazing group of girls by my side," Coach Kethan continued. "Especially these 4 seniors who took a chance on Emmanuel when we did not even have courts to play at home. It is definitely a bitter-sweet moment for me. I know the seniors will not be here in Fall of 2019, but I am also glad that we were able to accomplish something great together before they all graduated. This is a moment that I will cherish forever!"

The Lady Lions give credit to Coach Kethan for helping them develop that mindset and putting them in a position to win.

"Coach always tells us if we want it, we can do it," said junior Victoria Silva.  "We always have a chance to beat any team we face."

Even though they have already accomplished so much this year, their journey isn't over yet. The ladies now set their sights for the NCAA National Tournament. They  know they have a long and tough battle ahead of them, but the journey thus far has developed in them the determination and grit of a championship team.

Three years ago, the Lady Lions recruited players in the Dining Hall, trying to field a complete team. Today, with their goals in sight,  the future of the program is bright.