In a trio of intense matches against ranked opponents and Big East foes, the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams competed with a slate of highly competitive teams this past weekend.
The women’s team (2-2, 0-1 Big East) split matches with the No. 15 University of Chicago (2-2, 0-0 University Athletic Association) – a Division III team – and No. 49 DePaul (4-5, 1-0 Big East), beating the Maroons decisively last Friday but falling to the Blue Demons the following day. The men’s team (2-5, 0-1 Big East) also played DePaul (3-6, 1-0 Big East), but fell in a tight 4-3 finish.
The men’s match against DePaul began with competitive doubles play. Junior Jordan Portner and freshman Michael Chen defeated their opponents 6-4 in the first doubles slot, but sophomore Peter Beatty and junior Yannik Mahlangu lost their second doubles match 7-5, while junior Jack Murphy and sophomore Mac Rechnan lost at third singles slot 6-2.
Though DePaul earned the initial momentum in the match by winning the doubles point, Georgetown quickly leapt out to a 3-1 lead. The Hoyas dominated in the upper half of the singles matches, notching victories in the first, second and third slots. Sophomore Marco Lam won his first singles set in a close 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 finish over DePaul senior Sten Leusink. Beatty beat DePaul sophomore Alex Galoustian in straight sets (6-3, 6-3) while Chen defeated DePaul senior Paul John 6-3, 6-4 to capture another straight set victory.
“To see guys like Marco Lam play the best match of his career was awesome,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “He’s only played number one a few times, and that was one of them and he beat one of the better players in the Big East. Pete beat the Rookie of the Year from the Big East last year. Mike Chen, a freshman, played his best tennis. They just outplayed us at certain points, that was it.”
Senior Daniel Khanin did not compete in this match, which gave Lam the opportunity to step up in the first singles position.
“We do have a lot of depth, and Marco fought really hard and pulled out a really tough match against a guy who had beaten Danny last year, so I think it was definitely good to see that we can compete without him up there, although it definitely would have helped to have him,” Beatty said.
Georgetown only needed one more singles victory to win the match, but DePaul bounced back and took the fourth, fifth and sixth singles matches to get the win. Mahlangu had the opportunity to win the match for the Hoyas in the fourth singles position, but after a full-body cramp took over, he was unable to finish the contest.
Despite the loss, Beatty believes that the match against the Blue Demons benefitted the Hoyas by showing them how they fare against Big East competition.
“There was a little bit of a rivalry coming into the match and we wanted to prove that we could do it again and that we were here to stay. … I think we know we can fight with some of the best teams in the Big East now and that we can compete with them, so that’s a good thing going forward.”
The women’s team started match play against ranked Division III team University of Chicago. The Hoyas dominated doubles play in that match, with junior captain Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa winning 8-2 in the first doubles spot. Junior Sophia Barnard and sophomore Sara Swift won their second doubles match 9-7, while freshman Sydney Goodson and sophomore Casey Marx won the third doubles match 8-5 to capture the doubles point and get on the scoreboard.
Singles play saw Saperstein win her first singles match 6-3, 6-0 over Chicago sophomore Ariana Iranpour. Georgetown freshman Cecelia Lynham also won in straight sets, snagging a victory over Chicago freshman Rachel Kim. Nakagawa, Goodson and Marx all won their singles matches as well. The lone loss came in junior Madeline Foley’s match, as Foley fell to Chicago senior Lucy Tang in a 6-2, 6-3 finish. The Hoyas came away with the win in the end, beating Chicago 6-1.
“ [Chicago has] good players and our girls played really well, they played hard and treated it like a D1 match,” Ernst said.
Despite this positive momentum heading into the Blue Demons matchup, the tides turned for the Blue and Gray. The Blue Demons’ doubles pairings were too much for the Hoyas, as DePaul won the doubles point to start the contest. Though Goodson and Marx won their match 6-4, Saperstein and Nakagawa fell 6-2 while Swift and Lynham lost 6-1.
DePaul dominated singles play as well, only giving up one match. Goodson won in the sixth singles slot, topping freshman Milica Tesic 2-6, 6-3, 1-0. As the match was already decided, Goodson and Tesic only played a tiebreaker instead of a full third set. Saperstein in first singles, Nakagawa in second singles and Lynham in third singles all fell in straight sets in the beginning of singles play to officially hand the match over to DePaul. Barnard and Swift also lost at fourth and fifth singles.
Ernst said that Goodson displayed one of the most impressive performances of the weekend, winning all four of her matches.
“I think the story of the weekend on the girl’s side was Sydney Goodson. She won all four matches. … She showed great toughness, great heart, great poise for a freshman, which isn’t common,” Ernst said.
Next, the men’s team will compete at the PAC Coast Doubles starting March 4. The women’s team will return to match play this Friday against St. John’s at 1 p.m.
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