After participating in a host of valuable tournaments over the past two months, the Georgetown tennis program will enter its final competition of the fall season, as the teams travel to Palos Verdes, Calif., and Annapolis, Md., this upcoming weekend.
The men’s team will compete in the Navy Invitational for the second consecutive season, while the women’s team will travel to California for the Jack Kramer College Invitational.
In Annapolis, the men’s team will compete among a pool of familiar college tennis teams from the area, including Navy and George Mason. The Navy Invitational will be structured around team competition.
Meanwhile, athletes from the women’s team will have the opportunity to compete on an individual level against players from some of the top tennis programs in the country.
“The tournament is going to be a fabulous experience for the girls,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “You have UCLA, USC, South Carolina, Northwestern — these are some of the best teams in the country. So, the fact that we got invited is a really cool thing.”
Competing at the Jack Kramer College Invitational will be a homecoming of sorts for sophomore Risa Nakagawa, who is originally from Palos Verdes and has her own personal roots at the location of the tournament.
“She’s very excited,” Ernst said. “In fact, I think she bought a one-way ticket, I don’t think she’ll want to leave. … But yes, this is the club that Risa grew up at, so that’s great.”
Because results from the fall season do not factor into the teams’ overall records or their conference standings, these tournaments often serve as opportunities to get adjusted to competitive play and prepare for the more influential matches in the spring. There will be many talented players at Palos Verdes, making the Jack Kramer College Invitational a challenging conclusion to the women’s team’s fall campaign.
“The experience of it all — to play against some of the best girls in the country — I think it will transfer over to the spring,” Ernst said. “Because it just feeds on their confidence … It’ll be against really good players who are probably better than the players in the Big East. So, when we go play Big East matches, it won’t seem as difficult.”
Another exciting component of the Jack Kramer College Invitational is the role the Jack Kramer Club has played in the tennis world. According to its website, tennis legends Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport and Eliot Teltscher, among others, are all alumni of the Jack Kramer Club.
“There’s so much history,” Ernst said. “Some of the best tennis players on the planet played there, you know, so it’s cool.”
As with the women’s tournament, the Navy Invitational will serve as the final opportunity for the men’s team to take advantage of fall play. While Ernst will travel with the women’s team in California, the program’s Assistant Coach Dillon Pottish will coach the Hoyas against local squads.
Sunday’s most important match will be against the host team, as Navy has been one of Georgetown’s most consistent rivals in recent years. Last year, the Blue and Gray barely edged the Midshipmen in a 4-3 finish. The two teams are slated to play each other in this year’s spring season on April 2, 2017.
“Playing Navy on Sunday will be good,” Ernst said. “They’re always a rival of ours. Again, it’s just adding another tournament this year, which we normally don’t do, and that will just really help us. We’ve really needed it in the past.”
Until this weekend, the men’s teams fall play has included a match against the University of D.C., the Penn Invitational, the Farnsworth Invitational and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regionals. The women’s team, on the other hand, played in the Towson 4+1 Invitational, the College Park Invitational, the Colorado Invitational and the ITA Regionals.
With the conclusion of fall play, both teams will have a break from competition until their spring seasons. Both teams will return to play Jan. 27, 2017 in matches against Drexel in Philadelphia, Pa.
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