Emily Dunbar is working to cap her stellar career with an elusive conference championship.
Photograph courtesy Richmond Athletics

Ready to rally

January 12, 2022

Tennis

Emily Dunbar has been the A-10’s Rookie of the Year and Spider athletics’ Newcomer of the Year. But there’s an accolade she’s still after as a graduate student playing in her last year of eligibility: conference champ.

She and her teammates have come tantalizingly close. They reached the A-10 finals in 2019 and 2021 and missed an opportunity when the pandemic led to the cancellation of the 2020 tournament.

“We’ve been close multiple years now,” she said. “I definitely want to win conference.”

The Dunbar family has been a steady presence in Richmond tennis for more than a decade. Her brother Ethan left Medina, Ohio, for Richmond’s courts in 2010 and became UR’s first nationally ranked tennis player. Her other brother, Jacob, followed in 2013 and set new program records for single-season and career victories. Emily started her Spider career in 2017.

“They were one of the reasons I came [to Richmond],” she said, “but I don’t feel pressure or anything like that.”

She has more than held her own, earning First Team A-10 honors in 2018, 2019, and 2021 and leading her team during its conference runs. As the Spiders enter the spring season, she’s working to help the team make a run to another tournament and lift that elusive trophy.

“I’m just continuing to improve and work on things and hope to feel like I’m playing well when I’m finishing,” she said.