Back in action for the first time since early November, the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams kicked off their spring seasons on the right foot, sweeping the Drexel University men’s and women’s teams on Friday.
The female Hoyas (1-0 Big East) dominated their Dragon counterparts (3-1, CAA) by a score of 7-0, as a complete sweep of the singles matches netted the Hoyas six points. The squad’s upperclassmen set the tone for the impressive display, as senior Victoire Saperstein prevailed in straight sets 6-0, 6-2 in the No. 1 match, while junior Sara Swift earned a hard-fought three-set victory in the No. 2 match 3-6, 7-5 and 10-7.
“I think that we played loose, confident, extremely competitive tennis,” Georgetown Head Coach Gordie Ernst said of his women’s team. “Those were the three things: we were loose, we were confident, and we were very competitive. It’s almost like the perfect storm.”
Georgetown also enjoyed triumphant performances from underclassman in the singles competitions, which included a duo of 6-1, 6-3 victories from sophomores Risa Nakagawa and Sydney Goodson in the No. 3 and No. 4 matches, respectively. Sophomore Cecilia Lynham and junior transfer Drew Spinosa rounded out the singles matches with a pair of victories.
Spinosa, who made her debut on Friday, comes to Georgetown having been University of San Diego’s winningest player with 11 wins last season.
“Drew Spinosa was fabulous,” Ernst said. There was no nerves, no tightness, and that’s the thing about this team—they’re such a strong competitive group that they feed off each other. And that’s the great thing about them —they’re so close, they’re a tight-knit group — and the best thing about them is that they make each other better every day in practice because they push each other. Drew thrives on that because she is a natural competitor.”
In addition to her successful singles debut, Spinosa contributed to the Blue and Gray’s doubles victory. The doubles competition, a best of three, one set event, is where Georgetown earned its seventh and final point to secure the shutout. The duo of Goodson and Swift prevailed 6-2, while Spinosa and Lynham downed their Drexel opponents by the same tally.
The Georgetown men’s team (1-1 Big East) competed twice this weekend, completing the sweep of Drexel (3-1, CAA) with a 5-2 triumph on Friday, followed by a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the University of Pennsylvania (2-1 Ivy League).
Inauspiciously opening the match against the Dragons, the Blue and Gray fell in doubles competition 2-1; the underclassmen combination of sophomore Michael Chen and freshman Ian Witmer earned the Hoya’s sole victory, prevailing 6-2.
Following this defeat, the Hoyas rebounded in the singles competition, taking five out of six individual events to claim the match. Although No. 1 Marco Lam fell to his opponent in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, the Blue and Gray rallied to overcome these initial deficits to the tune of five straight single victories. No. 2 junior Peter Beatty and No. 3 Chen highlighted the comeback effort, earning decisive wins of 6-3, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-4, respectively.
While Beatty and Chen cruised through both sets, senior Yannik Mahlangu and Witmer grinded their way through tiebreakers and third sets to a pair of wins. Mahlangu battled during a second-set tiebreaker to prevail in two trying sets, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), while Witmer overcame a first-set defeat to win 3-6, 6-2, 10-7.
After a short rest, the men’s team took to the court the following day at the Hecht Center in Philadelphia to battle the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. After losing the trio of doubles matches, the Hoyas looked to employ the same strategy that worked against Drexel: singles play.
Georgetown failed to capture the previous day’s success, however, as junior Mac Rechan’s three-set 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory represented the Hoyas’ solitary point on the day. Other strong efforts included a three-set defeat from Mahlangu in No. 5 singles, 6-4, 3-6, 10-3.
“Especially on the guy’s side this year, we’re going to have to win doubles points to beat good teams,” Ernst said. “To beat a pretty good team on the guys side, we’re going to have to win doubles points. So, we’re going to have to keep getting better—and it is better—don’t get me wrong, but we’re going to have to keep getting better.”
Both teams will be back in action next weekend, as the men head to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to battle Boston College, while the women will face Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
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