The Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Baltimore last Friday to face Navy, with the men’s team emerging victorious and the women’s team falling short.
The men’s team (1-3) outplayed the Midshipmen 4-3 in its fourth match of the 2016 season. Sophomores Peter Beatty and Marco Lam started the day strong with their 6-2 victory in the No. 2 doubles position. Shortly after, juniors Yannik Mahlangu and Jack Murphy were defeated 6-3, leaving it to freshman Michael Chen and junior Jordan Portner to clinch the doubles point. Ultimately, Chen and Portner triumphed 6-4.
“The doubles were fantastic,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said, commenting on the men’s play. “They were as good of doubles as I’ve seen in years.”
In the singles competition, Mahlangu and Chen both defeated the Midshipmen in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-3, respectively. The match came down to sophomore Mac Rechan’s match in the fifth singles slot. Ultimately, he won 6-3, 7-6 to clinch the win for the Hoyas.
“When the match is on the line, Mac is comfortable trying to get it done for us,” Ernst said.
Rechan attributed his calmness under pressure to experience.
“I don’t know if being a clincher is my role, but I can definitely say that I’ve been put into quite a few pressure situations,” Rechan said. “Last year in the Big East tournament I won a close match for us, and I think that’s what pushed me into the role of being a closer.”
After two weeks of intense practice coming off of a loss to Virginia Commonwealth, this win was an important shift in momentum for the men’s team. It also displayed the fresh talent of five-star recruit freshman Michael Chen, who stepped up and won in both his singles and doubles matches.
“He’s got a great serve, a good feel, and he knows how to impose his game on his opponents,” Rechan said. “I’m expecting big things from him this year, and Navy was just the beginning.”
The women’s team (0-1) was less successful, falling to the Midshipmen 4-3 in its first match of the season. Navy’s home-court advantage was crucial in the matchup because the Hoyas were not used to playing on the indoor hard courts of Navy’s Brigade Sports Complex.
“We just got outrun,” Ernst said. “They had a few girls who could run faster than we could, especially at number four and number five.”
This shortcoming cost them the doubles point, and ultimately the match. Though junior captain Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa won their doubles match 6-3, the team could not manage to come out on top.
In singles play, however, the Hoyas won the majority of the matches. Freshman Cecilia Lynham won three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, in the second singles position and Nakagawa won three sets, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, in the third singles position. Sophomore Casey Marx earned the last point for the Blue and Gray in her 6-4, 6-4 victory.
It was a tough loss for the women, with the only point lost from the doubles competition barring them from the win. Doubles play will be key to the women’s future success, especially in the Big East tournament.
Going forward, Ernst says he wants the women’s team to focus on “running, playing defense, putting balls away when they have the opportunity, and being looser and tougher on big points”.
The women’s team hopes to bounce back from its defeat just as the men did on Friday. This upcoming weekend it will have that chance, as both the women’s and the men’s teams travel to Princeton, N.J., to take on the Princeton Tigers.
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