Tennis | Preseason Ends in Victory

The Georgetown tennis program wrapped up its fall campaign with successful performances from both the men’s and women’s teams.

The men’s team rattled off several victories at the Navy Invitational, while the women’s team made its mark at the Jack Kramer Collegiate Invitational in Palos Verdes, Calif.

The women’s team’s performance was highlighted by a round of 32 win from sophomore Sydney Goodson. After a first round win, Goodson took down Northwestern junior Erin Larner, the tournament’s No. 3 seed.

“I didn’t know too much about her going into the match, but I just knew I had to stay focused and play well,” Goodson said. “I thought I was playing decent in the beginning, but she was hitting great balls and really playing well in the match. She got up against me in the first set. I was playing really aggressively, but I was also playing really consistent. I was making a lot of shots and very few unforced errors, but I think I was doing a good job of attacking.”

Goodson found herself in a quick 5-1 hole in the first set. However, the momentum of the set switched during Larner’s set point.

“It was 5-1 deuce and I won that deuce point to make it 5-2, and I think that was a huge game,” Goodson said. “I think that made her mentally start breaking down a little bit. I just took advantage of that and won the set 7-5 and got ahead in the second set 4-0. It was a really big win. It was a really cool experience for me.”

Head Coach Gordie Ernst could not have been prouder of Goodson’s performance.

“It just keeps giving us more and more respect as a program when we go in and knock off the best players in the country. That’s why it’s fun for me to see our girls know they can play with anyone on the national level,” Ernst said.

After her win over Larner, Goodson played top-ranked and eventual champion Mia Horvit, a freshman from University of South Carolina. Ernst thought it was good for Goodson to see competition at such a high level.

“I’ve seen a lot of girls play now. I’ve been coaching women’s tennis for 11 years. But that girl played at a level I don’t know if I’ve seen in my 11 years. It was almost like watching a first round match at the U.S. Open.”

Sophomore Risa Nakagawa, junior Sara Swift and senior Victoire Saperstein all walked away with a win from the tournament.

The men also had a successful weekend. Junior Mac Rechan and freshman Ian Witmer won their singles flight, while Witmer and sophomore Michael Chen won their doubles flight.

“I’m finally finding that consistency,” Rechan said. “My freshman and sophomore year I was very up and down. I had some good wins and some bad losses. The difference for this fall has been finding that consistent level and winning the big points.”

Witmer attributes his recent wins to rising to the occasion when playing big points.

“I think a lot of my problems were I’d never win big points,” Witmer said. “I’d get in these matches and get very mentally frustrated and ultimately just give the match away. I battled and won a three-set match this weekend, same thing for doubles. We won a close match. I think just learning that winning mentality has been helping me a lot this fall.”

Ernst believes Witmer and the rest of his players just need to believe in themselves.

“He should go down to that tournament and win all those matches. He’s that good. With him, it’s so mental. He gets down on himself if he’s struggling in the beginning and it affects his confidence instead of just believing in himself. He can battle, but it’s just about getting your kids to play at the highest potential.”

The Navy Invitational and Jack Kramer Collegiate Invitational are the two final tournaments that the Georgetown tennis program will participate in during the fall season. According to Ernst, the past two months have been extremely successful for both the men’s and women’s teams.

“I think this has been our best fall, collectively, since I’ve been here. The girls aren’t short on confidence — they believe in themselves — but we need the guys to get there.”

As the Hoyas move into regular season play at the turn of the calendar year, Ernst believes their depth will be an asset.

“I think we’re going to be one of the deepest teams in the Big East. I really do,” Ernst said. “At the Big East level, if everyone plays their best we win. Other teams have better players, but as a team we can win if everyone plays at their 100 percent.”

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