TENNIS | Elite Opponents Await GU
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 00:01
The Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams will both be traveling for their matches this weekend. After a close 4-3 win over Boston College, the men’s team (2-1) will challenge the George Mason Patriots (1-0) in Fairfax, Va. Meanwhile, the women (1-3) will head north to take on BC (2-0) and the Boston University Terriers (1-0) after a 4-3 loss to Navy.
Hoping to pick up their third win in a row, the men will be traveling with significant momentum after their tight victory last weekend, courtesy of freshman Jack Murphy. With a similar lineup slated to compete, the men will be taking a similar approach to George Mason.
“Never change a winning formula,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “We’re not going to change anything.”
After being named Big East Men’s Tennis Player of the Week the previous week, Murphy went on to play a key part in the victory over BC. This week, Murphy’s fellow freshman Yannik Mahlangu earned the same award. Mahlangu and Murphy joined forces for a doubles win last Friday. He picked up a straight-set victory later in the match.
Ernst has high expectations for all his players, not just the impressive freshmen; the focus is now helping them achieve their full potential.
“If we get everyone playing as well as they can play, then we can knock off good teams,” Ernst said.
George Mason will battle Georgetown with a talent level just as threatening as Boston College’s. This past week they were projected to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10, as determined by the league’s head coaches. Additionally, the Patriots finished with a respectable 14-7 record during their 2012-2013 year.
“It’s going to be the same kind of team,” Ernst said. “George Mason is every bit as good as Boston College. It’s going to be another great match.”
George Mason is the first in a string of matches the Hoyas will compete in over the course of the coming weeks. On Feb. 8, the Georgetown will face off against Yale for the first time in five years. The Blue and Gray lost the previous two matchups 4-3.
“What an opportunity that will be,” Ernst said of the match.
The men’s roster doesn’t have any significant injuries that will hurt them for the George Mason match. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the women. With back-to-back matches in Boston this weekend, Ernst may make some line-up changes on each day to rest the players and allow the injured to recover.
The women’s squad fell just short against Navy, dropping the match 4-3. Despite securing the doubles point early, the Hoyas competing in the singles matches failed to earn the three points to needed to clinch the victory. Ernst believes that his squad may have been uncomfortable in the role of favorite for that match..
“Our girls played with a lot of pressure against Navy because we were the favorite,” Ernst said. “I think that affected us a little bit.”
On Saturday they will face off against BC, a match-up that will certainly pose a challenge for Georgetown.
“BC is very good — I mean, they’re one of the best teams in the Northeast, if not the best team,” Ernst said.
The BC women’s team is playing their second home match of the 2014 season after handing Dartmouth a 5-2 loss last Saturday.
The Hoyas will stay in Boston on Sunday to take on BU. Though the Terriers don’t have the same reputation as the Eagles, BU is coming off of a 7-0 victory over the University of Rhode Island.
“They’re not BC, but they’re still good,” Ernst said of the team. “They’re definitely going to be two tough matches.”
Still, Ernst has confidence in his team. Georgetown got the doubles point against Navy; if they could repeat the feat this weekend, it would be a significant help against the Boston squads.
“If you win that point then you just need three out of the six singles matches to win the whole thing,” said Ernst. “I hope we won’t feel that pressure and just play loose, and if we do that we’ll be right there with them.”
The men’s match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and the women’s starting times have yet to be announced.