TENNIS | Women Earn Road Sweep
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 01:02
Heading into this weekend’s slate of matches, Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis Head Coach Gordie Ernst emphasized gaining respect: Playing two teams of relatively equal repute on both the men’s and women’s side, the Hoyas had a chance to make a statement.
The two teams came home with mixed results. The women were victorious in both matches, defeating Duquesne 7-0 and Pittsburgh 5-2 during their two-day stay in Pittsburgh, moving to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big East. The men, however, were defeated twice, falling 5-2 to Duquesne and 4-3 to Toledo.
The women kicked off the weekend in a dominating performance against the Dukes. Senior captain Vicky Sekely and junior Kelly Cornolli started things off right, winning the decisive eight-game pro-set to earn the opening doubles point.
From there it was a breeze for the Hoyas, who didn’t drop a single match as two freshmen, Liz Hamlin and Taylor Perz, earned their first singles victories.
“These freshmen go out there, and all of a sudden they’re in heated battles, playing for their team,” Ernst said of the rookie duo.
The Pittsburgh match didn’t start out quite as smoothly, as the Panthers quickly picked up the doubles point before Georgetown had a chance to pick one up in singles. After Georgetown then won the first two singles matches, Perz came up big for the second day in a row. The Pennsylvania native came back from a 5-0 deficit in the second set to poise the team for a win, as Jaeger proceeded to close out the contest in the next match.
Ernst was effusive in his praise of Perz’s resilient effort following the victory.
“She just fought and fought and ended up winning the match,” Ernst said. “It was very impressive and showed some serious toughness from a freshman.”
The Pitt matchup was especially significant, he explained, because it was the first Big East match for Georgetown and presented a tough road challenge.
“They really thought they could show us who they are,” Ernst said, attributing his team’s slow start to the fact that the Hoyas were playing for a second straight day and didn’t get a proper warm up. “We adjusted and said, ‘It doesn’t matter,’ and pulled out the win.’”
After earning two big victories on the weekend, Ernst believes the women’s team hasn’t yet peaked but is showing sure signs of improvement.
“I think we can play better, but we showed some serious, serious fight. We got into some tough matches, and we have a lot of experience now,” he said. “Even though it’s early in the season and we aren’t totally there yet, they have something called pride now where they aren’t going to let these other teams get the best of us.”
Opening the Big East schedule with a win gives the Hoyas momentum going forward, which could bode well in their home match against George Washington this weekend.
The men’s team, meanwhile, had a far tougher weekend than its counterpart. Against Duquesne, senior captain Charlie Caris picked up a point in the No. 1 singles spot, but the Blue and Gray only managed one more win, despite playing several close contests.
Still, things were looking up on Saturday, as Georgetown started off strong against Toledo by picking up the doubles point. The Rockets prevailed in singles play, however, and squeaked out a 4-3 victory.
After two tough losses, Ernst stressed that they needed a greater sense of determination to start pulling out such close contests.
“It’s a matter of being a little more intense and playing with more urgency. These guys are playing hard, but they aren’t playing like they need [every single] point,” Ernst said. “We have some guys who right now are playing more like it’s a best-of-five match instead of a best-of-three match. They aren’t treating every point like it’s gold, and that’s what you need to do when it’s a two- or three-set match.”
The men’s team will take a short break from competition before facing Pennsylvania a week from Wednesday.