Georgetown junior tennis captain Victoire Saperstein lost the first match of her college career at No. 6 singles on Jan. 26, 2014. Navy’s Gabby Winter downed Saperstein 6-0, 6-2 in a match that concluded in a 4-3 Navy victory over Georgetown. While the situation was far from humorous at the time, Saperstein now looks back at that day and laughs.
“It was not a good match; it was rough, it was a mess. We ended up losing 4-3 — I wasn’t the last person to lose, but we lost 4-3, and with me being at spot six, it was my fault,” Saperstein said. “I always joke around because that was my first match, and now I try to remind the freshmen that it’s okay, it’s the beginning.”
Saperstein had suffered from an injury for the entirety of Georgetown’s fall season her freshman year. As a result, in the beginning of her career, she was forced to merely observe practices instead of partaking and competing.
“It’s tough because freshmen want to come in and make their mark right off the bat, and she had to be patient and she was, she was patient,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “She took a bad loss at Navy at No. 6, so talk about someone who didn’t let it impact her confidence. … She lost at No. 6 against Navy in January, and three months later she’s All-Big East playing No. 1 for us. That’s so impressive.”
After playing matches at sixth singles, fifth singles and second singles, Saperstein made her way to the No. 1 singles spot for the Hoyas and has held that spot ever since. She ended her freshman season 11-8 in singles play overall, and 8-6 in the No. 1 singles spot.
Before coming to Georgetown, Saperstein graduated as valedictorian of her class at the Odyssey Charter School in Las Vegas, Nev. While in high school, she boasted an undefeated record in singles matches throughout the United States Tennis Association Girls Under-18 National Championship and attended the prestigious No Quit Tennis Academy. Saperstein’s tennis experience before her time at Georgetown contributed significantly to her success in both high school and college.
“She knows how to play the game, she’s played a ton, her dad was her coach and he did a great job training her along with the No Quit Tennis Academy, which was founded by [Andre] Agassi’s father,” Ernst said. “He shaped her into who she is today, someone who’s responsible, cares about others and someone who really knows how to play the game.”
Though the recruiting process was a complex one for Saperstein, a five-star recruit, the choice to attend Georgetown was relatively easy. Like many current Hoyas, Saperstein says she knew the Hilltop was the right fit when she first set foot on campus.
“I loved what Georgetown was founded on. … It just felt kind of right,” Saperstein said. “I know that that’s the classic thing to say, ‘You just know,’ but I knew that this was the place. I wanted Gordie as my head coach, I wanted the girls to be my teammates, and it just made sense.”
“After meeting Gordie she was completely sold,” Mark Saperstein, Saperstein’s father, wrote in an email. “His humor attracted her and they instantly got along. I went and met him and I was impressed with his ‘fatherly’ attitude with his athletes.”
Considering the success that Saperstein has experienced with the Hoyas, it appears that it was the correct choice. She was selected to the All-Big East Team in both her freshman and sophomore years, and posted an 11-3 singles record in her sophomore spring.
Saperstein continued that success into the tournaments she competed in this past summer. She advanced to the finals of the 2015 Intercollegiate Tennias Association Summer Circuit, winning in straight sets in every round before falling in the finals to Zoe Katz in a 6-2, 6-0 result. Nonetheless, her dominance in the Summer Circuit again proves her status as an elite player.
Because of her accomplishments at Georgetown and beyond, it is unsurprising that Saperstein was selected to be the captain of the Georgetown team this year.
“It’s all about the team. Individually I love to do great, but really I want the team to win the Big East and get to the NCAAs; I think that would be the most incredible thing Georgetown tennis could ever do,” Saperstein said.
Saperstein’s personal success has elevated her to her role as captain, but according to Ernst, individual achievement has never been most important to her.
“She went from playing for herself, like most tennis players do, to not wanting to let the team down,” Ernst said. “I’m just so proud of her for how far she’s come now, and become such a great leader and captain of this team.”
If anything, that first loss in January 2014 built a foundation for who Saperstein would become as a player. Consistent confidence, constant perseverance and unending humility are what make Saperstein the player that she is today.
“She has taken her role as captain very seriously and is making a concerted effort to bond the players on the team so that they will be a united force to be reckoned with,” Mark Saperstein wrote.
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