The Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams are approaching their first major checkpoint of the season, as both teams head to Blacksburg, Va. to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Championships this weekend.
The men’s team finished the Farnsworth Invitational in Princeton last weekend with mixed resultsThe doubles team of junior Mac Rechan and freshman Ian Witmer won the C flight of the doubles draw, while junior Peter Beatty won a big match against the No. 1 player from Monmouth.
Head Coach Gordie Ernst was not particularly pleased when describing the extent of his team’s success.
“I think [last weekend] was very average,” Ernst said. “I think our guys could have done better. I think we have to learn how to compete every time we get onto the court.”
Despite winning his flight in doubles, Rechan agreed, noting that his team’s play could have been better.
“I think a lot of us are not competing that well. It was pretty average,” Rechan said.
Ernst emphasized the team’s ability to compete is improving but will need to progress more as the season continues.
“That’s what a real competitor does,” Ernst said. “We have very few guys that when they go out there, they are going to look across the net and think, ‘I’m going to beat the crap out of you.’ They don’t think that way.”
A common theme for the entire tennis program is the underdog mentality they have when playing against any opponent. When they compete against national powerhouses this weekend such as Virginia and Virginia Tech, the Hoyas will get an early look as to how they handle the major competition.
“In previous years, we have considered ourselves as the underdogs,” sophomore Sydney Goodson said. “As our team has developed, we’ve realized we should be going into the matches thinking we should be winning this. I think we are going into these matches thinking we should be beating these big players.”
“I can speak for everyone that we would love to have a big win against some of the better teams here this weekend. I think we’ve been training really hard and playing well. We are continuing to improve each other’s play so I think it’s very possible,” Goodson said.
For this weekend, Ernst knows how competing will be essential if the Hoyas want to go toe-to-toe against the nation’s best. Ernst is quick to admire Goodson’s style of play, using his fondness for the “Rocky” series to explain how Goodson often emulates what he is striving for from his players.
“Have you ever seen Rocky III? Do you remember Clubber Lang? Someone who has to play Sydney, it’s almost like [playing] Clubber Lang. Someone asked Clubber, ‘Hey Clubber, what’s your prediction [for the fight]?’” Ernst said. “Clubber responds. ‘Pain.’”
“Everyone on our team says I’m their least favorite one to play. …I kind of like that,” Goodson said. Premising her game on being scrappy, defensive and chasing down every ball, she embraces a style of play that her makes both her teammates and opponents grow wary.
“I like to run a lot,” Goodson said.
However, Ernst understands that many of his players do not have the experience or pedigree their top-tier competitors have. Still, he recognizes that his players’ competitive nature and athleticism will be enough to compete with the best in the country.
“It’s not always the best player who wins. It can be the one who fights, who competes, and who plays the big points well,” Ernst said. “Now, our girls can beat anyone.”
Ernst is hoping he will see a preview of the team’s intensely competitive nature this weekend. As a team that many people do not consider a legitimate Big East title contender, Georgetown and Ernst are looking to use this to their advantage early in the season.
“We deserve a little more respect than we get,” Ernst said. “But at the same time, it’s good that we are still under the radar of other teams because they don’t know what’s going to hit them.”
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