Even though the fall season is barely underway, the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis programs’ performances thus far have indicated a promising future. On Sept. 16, the Georgetown men (1-0) swept the University of the District of Columbia (0-1) 9-0. Seven days earlier, the women’s side (1-0) also routed UDC (2-3, 2-2 East Coast) in a 9-0 finish. Before that, the men’s team beat Yale (0-0) at the UPenn Classic.
“That’s the first time we’ve beaten an Ivy in a pretty long time, at least 10 years, so that was really good for us,” junior Jordan Portner said. “We put a beating on them and it was good to see.”
These victories will give the Hoyas momentum going into two of the fall season’s key tournaments. The men’s side will play nearby in the Navy Invitational Sept. 25-27 in Annapolis, Md. The women’s team will head to Denver September 24 to compete in the University of Colorado Fall Invite.
The Navy Invitational will play host to several of Georgetown’s local rivals. George Washington (0-0) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (0-0) both beat the Hoyas in the latter parts of the 2015 spring season. The two teams beat Georgetown in the 2014 spring season as well.
“These are all guys we compete against so we’ll be looking to make a name for ourselves and show those guys what they’re going to have to deal with when we play them in the spring,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said.
Meanwhile, the women’s side will compete against several unfamiliar teams. The tournament, hosted by University of Colorado at Boulder, will include the likes of Colorado (0-0), New Mexico (0-0) and Colorado State (0-0).
“There will be three teams we’ve never played before, but that’s always great to see some new competition, some different faces, because that’s just more experience for us and for some of the young players,” junior Sophie Barnard said.
“These are legitimate full scholarship programs, so it’s going to be exciting for the girls to play that level of competition,” Ernst said.
The matches at UDC featured both Georgetown’s new freshmen and its returning players. Sophomore Marco Lam defeated sophomore Rok Bozac of UDC in straight sets at the number one singles slot. Sophomore Peter Beatty, freshman Michael Chen, sophomore Mac Rechnan, junior Yannik Mahlangu and freshman Bart Panarese also won in straight sets to cap off Georgetown’s singles sweep.
“Michael and Will [Sharton] have definitely made a good impact, they’re both in the starting lineup for singles and doubles right away,” Portner said. “They got their first win at the UPenn Invitational, they’re working really hard in practice and they’re great guys.”
Doubles turned out similar results, as all three of Georgetown’s doubles teams won decisively. Lam and Chen paired up to notch a victory at first doubles, while Beatty and Portner won their match at second doubles. Junior Jack Murphy and Mahlangu dominated in third doubles, beating the UDC third doubles team in an 8-0 fashion.
“I think that’s really going to help us out going into this weekend at Navy where a lot of the best teams in the region are going to be there, so hopefully we’ll keep playing confident and it’ll be a good weekend,” Portner said.
The women’s match against UDC similarly proved that the Hoyas are could be a force to be reckoned with this year. Though junior captain Victoire Saperstein typically occupies the number one singles slot, freshman Cecelia Lynham played first singles against UDC. Lynham fell in the first set 4-6, but picked up the second set 6-2 and went on to win the third set tiebreak 10-6.
Freshman Risa Nakagawa beat her second singles opponent 6-0, 6-0, again demonstrating the potential that this year’s freshman class has to offer.
“We have some really strong freshmen who have been fitting in super well,” Barnard said. “We’re all really close and I think that’s one of the most important parts, it makes you want to compete even harder for your team.”
Sophomore Daphne de Chatellus, Barnard, freshman Sydney Goodson and sophomore Casey Marx all won their respective singles matches. Like the men’s team, the Hoyas dominated in doubles play, winning all three matches.
As the Georgetown tennis program does not truly gear up for play until the spring season, the Navy and Colorado tournaments provide valuable opportunities to introduce young players to collegiate tennis.
“The spring comes up pretty fast so the more they can develop their confidence, especially with the freshman … the better off we’ll be,” Ernst said.
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