TENNIS | Weekend Represents Proving Ground for GU
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 00:02
Both the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams are gearing up for two Midwest matches this weekend, with the women facing Duquesne today and Pittsburgh on Saturday. The men will likewise match up against Duquesne today before travelling to Ohio tomorrow to take on Toledo.
The spring season is just kicking off for both Georgetown squads, each of which had its first set of matches against VCU and Campbell on Jan. 18. The women’s team had a mixed result, beating Campbell 3-2 before getting crushed by VCU 4-0. The men, meanwhile, fell to both squads, losing a tight match to Campbell 3-2 before going down to VCU 4-0.
Nevertheless, men’s and women’s Head Coach Gordie Ernst felt optimistic ahead of this weekend’s action.
“We were one point away from winning on the guys’ side,” Ernst said. “We should be 1-1 on both teams.”
Ernst took some other positives from the VCU match, noting the Rams’ historically dominant program and Georgetown’s impressive showing against a clearly superior squad.
“It’s just another level. But [senior Charlie Caris] almost beat their No. 1 guy,” Ernst said. “That just shows you where Charlie is, how he has developed.”
The Blue and Gray are hoping that Caris and the rest of their senior leadership will help them respond with a strong performance this weekend. Ernst noted that he places special emphasis on the seniors’ roles on the team, believing that the Hoyas have the leadership abilities to be successful on both the men’s and women’s sides.
That said, Ernst admitted that the teams Georgetown will face this weekend are relative unknowns to the coaching staff. But despite not knowing exactly what they are up against, Ernst at the very least knows that the matches will be competitive.
“The only [match] where I know how they play is the Pitt match with the girls,” Ernst said. “We haven’t played Duquesne. I don’t know Toledo. All I know is they’re going to be good matches.”
Duquesne’s men’s team is 2-1 on the season, while the women’s squad lost its only match 7-0 to Bowling Green. The Pittsburgh women’s team is 1-1 on the season, and the Toledo men’s team is 5-4. All four matches should be strong tests for a largely unproven Georgetown side.
“This is what we’re talking about in terms of getting that respect and beating those teams that are similar to our team,” Ernst said. “You can’t get respect until you beat these teams. Otherwise, if you knock off [a better] team, they call you a one-hit wonder like the ‘Pina Colada’ guy — it’s a great song, but the guy never did anything else.”
Ernst wants both his programs to build up a national name and reputation, and he hopes this weekend will provide a strong jumping-off point for the rest of the season.
“I think that VCU match was a good start, but these matches are the first real dual matches,” Ernst said. “I’m looking forward to seeing [freshman] Taylor [Perz] on the girls’ side and [sophomore] Danny [Khanin] on the guys’ side compete. That’s why we do this: to get them in the fire and really see what they can do.”
Beyond this weekend, however, the coaching staff was still hesitant to name expectations. Their biggest goal is to have success in the Big East tournament.
“You get all these expectations, and you always get disappointed. It’s like marriage,” Ernst said. “The goal we set is to go to the Big East tournament and win a round, which [the men] haven’t done here in years. The girls have done okay in the Big East tournament the last few years, but the guys are still looking for their first win.”
The road to achieving those goals continues this weekend at Duquesne and Toledo.