TENNIS | Hoyas Lose but Gain Experience
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 02:10
Though the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams had little success at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional tournaments, matchups against some of the top programs on the East Coast provided valuable opportunities for development as the teams head into their offseasons.
The women travelled to Charlottesville, Va., where Atlantic region competition included the No. 15 ranked host, Virginia, and strong talent from VCU.
“We’re playing a really tough region,” Head Tennis Coach Gordie Ernst said. “These are some of the best teams in the country, and you know it’s going to be tough. These are all a lot of foreign girls, a lot who have played pro tennis.”
In the women’s singles main draw both of Georgetown’s qualifiers, senior Kelly Comolli and junior Sophie Panarese lost in straight sets in the first round. In the doubles draw Georgetown was more effective, with both qualifying pairs winning in the round of 64 before being knocked out in the second round.
“We hung in there,” Ernst said. “We had a nice doubles win, beat a team from Maryland, a nice doubles win over a good Richmond team.”
Ultimately, Ernst felt that the women met expectations.
“I’m always happy when the girls play well, fight well and are improving and that’s what I saw this weekend,” Ernst said.
At the men’s tournament in Blacksburg, Va., the Hoyas saw similar results. No. 1 ranked Virginia headlined a slate of skilled opponents from throughout the region. The men had success in the singles draw, with three of the five qualifiers advancing past the first round of 128. Senior Casey Distaso, junior Alex Tropiano and sophomore Daniel Khanin all won in straight sets to advance to the round of 64, where Tropiano and Distaso lost in straight sets while Khanin lasted three. In the doubles draw both teams, including a pairing of Distaso and Khanin, won on the first day but lost on the second.
The advancement of three of five men in the singles draw, with the close loss of a fourth, highlighted a successful first round for the team; although, like the women, no athletes advanced past the second day.
“I’m not disappointed and I’m not too surprised,” Assistant Coach Brian Ward said. “I thought we put ourselves in pretty good position on the second day, and if we had done a couple things better we would have gotten a couple wins.”
Both teams are now headed into the offseason. The ITA tournaments represented the last official competition of the fall season, a chance for the teams to assess and develop as they finish the individual tournaments of the fall and begin to prepare for the team-oriented matches of the spring.
“Our level of play has gone up,” Ernst said. “The girls played competitively against some great players, and I said they were not far away. There really was no disappointment this weekend.”
The opportunity to compete against experienced and challenging schools, some of which the Hoyas will face again in the spring, gave the tournaments significance beyond wins and losses.
“It’s a great experience,” Ernst said. “You go there for the real experience, and it inspires them to practice harder.”
The men will use the experience to build and train throughout the winter.
“The thing for all the guys is to figure out what their weaknesses are and try to do as much as they can to turn weaknesses into strengths,” Ward said. “so that when they get into the spring season they hit the ground running.”
The women hope to bolster their roster with the return of injured freshman Victoire Saperstein, described by Ernst as a “five-star recruit,” and sophomore Liselot Koenen. With their additions and the experience supplied by the ITAs, Ernst looks forward to offseason developments.
“I think they got inspired, inspired to really get out there and work harder over the next few months and do well in the new Big East,” Ernst said. “I think this was the perfect thing to go to at this time.”