The Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams took to the courts this weekend in the Atlantic Division of the Regional Championships. The completion of the tournament marked the end of the fall season.
On the men’s side, sophomore Marco Lam matched up with Virginia’s Harrison Richmond in the second round of the main singles draw. Richmond, Head Coach Gordie Ernst noted, was the top recruit in the country three years ago and won the Junior Orange Bowl. Lam took Richmond, the No. 1 seed, all the way to a match point in the second set. Lam eventually conceded the match 6-3, 5-7, 6-7.
“It was a heartbreaker, that would have been one of the great wins for our guys since I’ve been here in 10 years. I mean if you beat a UVA guy, especially a guy who at one time was the No. 1 recruit in the country, that would have been a hell of a win, and he was so close,” Ernst said.
Similar to Lam’s battle with Richmond, many of the other men’s matches were hard fought. Sophomore Peter Beatty was pitted against Old Dominion’s No. 2 seed Michael Weindl in the second round of the draw. His match was a back-and-forth three-setter that showed wild momentum swings, with Weindl eventually edging out Beatty 0-6, 6-0, 7-5. Freshman Will Sharton was also bested in a close match against St. Joseph’s No. 1 seed Renier Moolman that featured two tiebreakers with a final score of 7-6, 4-6, 7-6.
Ernst emphasized the positive effect the weekend had on raising the confidence of the team, despite the tough losses.
“They know we can play with everyone, and they know how close we are, so I’m happy. The kids are hungry, and they know it. They want Big East titles badly. It’s going to be a fun spring, and we’re really looking forward to it,” Ernst said.
On the women’s side of the bracket, junior captain Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa were the stars of the weekend for Georgetown. Saperstein overcame Leeza Nemchinov, William and Mary’s No. 1 seed and the fifth overall seed in the tournament, 6-4, 6-2. Nakagawa had her share of success in singles as well, taking down Michigan State’s Danielle Thompson 7-6, 6-2.
“I think doubles is where we shined. My partner Risa is a freshman and she just did incredible here coming out so strong. She did great in singles as well and she’s so impressive. Her performance as a freshman was really gratifying,” Saperstein said.
When the women paired up for doubles, they rolled over three rounds of competition, reaching the semifinals of the draw. There they met Virginia’s Julia Elbaba and Skylar Morton. The pair bested the Georgetown team 7-6, 6-2, but the defeat did not put a damper on Saperstein and Nakagawa’s run to the semifinals.
“This weekend was the highlight, I mean for Marco to get that match point and for Victoire and Risa to do that well, that was the highlight. But then again last week the girls beat Penn 4-3 and the guys beat Yale three weeks ago, so we’ve really had a great fall,” Ernst said.
Both teams must transfer the energy and momentum built from fall successes into the winter season that begins in January. Saperstein is confident in the team’s awareness of the task ahead and their ability to conquer it.
“We’re used to coming out, finally finding our momentum and then instead of putting it into matches really focusing on practice,” Saperstein said. “In the next two months, we’re really going to work on our fitness, and I know that over break each girl is very committed, and we all go home and train on breaks and we’re all very aware of what’s ahead of us.”
Both teams will look to carry their momentum as they turn the corner and enter a hiatus from match play. The winter season starts Jan. 16 for the men and Jan. 23 for the women.
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