TENNIS | GU Sizes Up the Competition
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 01:09
This weekend, Georgetown tennis will host the Georgetown Classic, an individual tournament that will feature players from both the men’s and women’s teams. It’s the first home competition this year for either squad, and although the tournament won’t count toward the teams’ records, it will be an opportunity for the Hoyas to see how they stack up against the competition.
On the women’s side, this weekend’s classic will feature players from schools including George Washington and UMBC. The tournament will mark the start of competition for the women’s team, which was 15-8 last year with a 6-2 home record. Featuring six new team members, they will be led by senior co-captains Kelly Comolli and Madeline Jaeger.
“[The new student-athletes] are fitting in great. Their personalities, their work ethic — they’re just great to have around. Overall, we’ve had really, really good chemistry,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said.
Two new student athletes, freshman Victoire Saperstein and sophomore Liselot Koenen, a transfer from the University of Houston, are recovering from injuries. Even though they are unlikely to participate in the classic this weekend, Ernst is excited about the contributions that they will make to the team.
“Both of our high-ranking, incoming players still haven’t really had an opportunity to play healthy,” he said. “When they do, that’ll be good.”
Freshman Sophie Barnard, from Mill Neck, N.Y., is excited for the season and the camaraderie that will come with it.
“I’m looking forward to finally being able to play on a team. I’ve always played individual tennis, and now I get to have a group of girls cheering for me and I get to cheer for them,” she said.
The team will also include freshmen Margaret Psyhogeos and Madeline Foley, as well as sophomore walk-on Mimi Lynham.
Ernst looks forward to seeing the connection that the players will develop in the absence of Tina Tehrani, who left Georgetown two seasons ago to play professionally.
“She had the potential to be an All-American for us, and she wanted to stay on the pro circuit and play, and so I think the [women’s] team has come together because of that and worked harder,” he said.
For the men’s team, the classic will be this year’s second tournament. The Hoyas will face the women’s aforementioned competitors as well as adversaries from Christopher Newport, Johns Hopkins and Norfolk State.
Last week, the men’s team began their fall competition at the Farnsworth Invitational in New Jersey. The Hoyas saw strong play from multiple players who went deep into their brackets. Freshman Jack Murphy played in the Cordish Singles Bracket, and, although he dropped his first match, he proceeded to win the consolation bracket.
Sophomore Daniel Khanin lost a close three-set match to a Princeton player who competed in the U.S. Open Juniors tournament, which features some of the best young players in the world.
“I was very happy with [their play],” Ernst said. “I didn’t know if the guys would be ready, and they looked pretty good. We had some good wins and we had some very close loses. So, overall, I would say I was content.”
The Hoyas return six athletes and add four freshmen: Murphy, Max Novak, Jordan Portner and Yannik Mahlangu, who won three matches on the first day of the Farnsworth Invitational.
Senior captains Casey Distaso and Andrew Dottino lead Georgetown this season. In its 2012-13 campaign, the team went 12-11 and an impressive 10-1 at home. In the tournament, there will be one main draw.
For those who lose there, a consolation bracket will follow. The players will not compete as a team but will be slated as individuals either in the singles or the doubles tournament.
“I think this weekend will be a test to see what they did this summer,” Ernst said.
According to Ernst, the competition this weekend is all about getting back into the swing of things and preparing for the spring season. Georgetown will look to gather some momentum with strong performances, and gain momentum to power them through the fall tournaments.