TENNIS | Hamlin Seals Comeback
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 00:02
Both the men and women’s tennis teams were in action in the City of Brotherly Love on Wednesday, as the women’s team faced off against Temple (1-6) while the men traveled to Philadelphia to take on Penn (3-1).
The women’s team (5-1) began its matchup against the Owls with strong doubles play, as freshman Taylor Perz and graduate student Liz Hamlin — who have turned into a formidable duo — opened with a win on Court Three. Sophie Panarese and junior Madeline Jaeger faced a tough test on Court Two, but they ultimately managed to clinch the doubles point with a dramatic win in a tiebreaker.
Head Coach Gordie Ernst said that the unusual pairing of a freshman and a graduate student in Perz and Hamlin has paid dividends for the Hoyas.
“That was the point of it, to take the freshman who didn’t have a lot of experience in doubles and put her with a girl who really gets doubles,” Ernst explained, crediting the experience of Hamlin with helping bring Perz up to speed. “It takes a while for doubles teams to get to know each other, and having Liz out there, she has the talent to control a doubles court.”
After the pairs’ win, senior captain Vicky Sekely then gained a quick point on singles Court One when the player from Temple was forced to retire. Temple fought back, however, and managed to win the next two matches on Courts Three and Five to level the match at 2-2. Panarese won her match to put the Blue and Gray in winning position, and Hamlin clinched it for Georgetown by battling back from a 5-2 deficit in the third set.
“It was definitely the Liz Hamlin show. The new expression we have is ‘pull a Hammy,’” Ernst said. “To pull a Hammy means to fight back when you’re way down and win.”
It’s not just Hamlin that’s been executing her namesake comeback, though, as many different players have thus far shown themselves capable of rising to the occasion when the team needs them. Ernst believes this versatility has been the key to Georgetown’s recent success.
“The amazing thing about this team is you never know from one day to the next who is going to step up and help the team win,” he said. “That’s the way it’s been for five wins in a row, where someone new has been the hero.”
The 4-2 win marked the fifth straight win for the Blue and Gray, and they’re hoping to be able to ride that streak into New York City next week, where they have a dual match with Big East rivals St. Johns and USF.
Closing out matches has been difficult for the men’s team (0-5) all year, and Wednesday’s match proved no different, as Georgetown fell 4-3 to Penn.
Ernst had earlier marked the Penn match as an opportunity for the Georgetown men to get their first win against an Ivy League team, and they indeed seemed headed in that direction after winning three of the first four points.
The pairings of senior captain Charlie Caris with junior Casey Distaso and graduate student Reese Milner with freshman Danny Khanin locked up the doubles point for Georgetown to start off the match. The Blue and Gray proceeded to win two of the first three singles points, courtesy of Milner and Distaso. Ernst said the Hoyas felt like the match was theirs when they went up early.
“We start off the singles [and] we win the first sets at three, five and six singles, so now it’s like, ‘We’re rolling,’” he said.
After falling behind 3-1, though, the Quakers came roaring back, eventually winning the match 4-3. In the process, the hosts quashed what would have been a particularly sweet win for Georgetown, against whom they have won 23 consecutive matches.
Even with the loss, Ernst still believes the result shows that his team is on the right track.
“We had every right to win the Penn men’s match, and we lost it. Sometimes that’s the way sports go — they don’t make sense,” Ernst said.
Ernst says the men’s team is still confident, and he believes they will be ready to go next weekend when they visit Connecticut on Friday, before returning to Georgetown for a home match against Richmond Saturday.