After a remarkable 2010-2011 season and a sixth place finish at the Big East championships, the Georgetown women’s tennis team returned to near-perfect form this weekend, as they emerged victorious in the top-two flights at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Fall Invitational.

Although only losing two players from last season, big questions still loomed at the Hoyas’ first tournament of the year, especially about how they would perform after former captain and current Assistant Coach Stephanie Wetmore exhausted her eligibility after spending one year as a graduate student playing for the team.

“The whole thing is: ‘What are we going to be like without Stephanie?’ Other coaches talk about it, she had that kind of a presence on the team and in the league, and we go down to a team that Stephanie played in last year,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “And we won the A flight. I would say that we started off pretty well.”

The Blue and Gray certainly made their mark in Wilmington, with numerous players rising to the occasion across all three tiered groups — also known as flights. Sophomore Tina Tehrani steamrolled her way to victory against the tournament’s strongest players in the A Flight, not dropping a single set on her way to victory.

“Tina, obviously, was most impressive, because she didn’t even lose a set,” Ernst said. “She was playing the top girls from each school, and she didn’t even lose a set.”

Her teammates in the A Flight, senior Lauren Greco and freshman Sophie Panarese, made it through the first round, but fell to UNC—Wilmington sophomore Angie Sekely and Sekely’s teammate, senior Christina Lee, respectively. Panarese, the team’s only new player, was particularly impressive in her Georgetown debut.

“Sophie Panarese has taken the team by storm,” Ernst said. “She had a great try-out, she came in as one of our highest-ranked recruits, and she beat the No. 1 player from West Virginia.”

As for the other flights, one of the biggest stories from this weekend was junior Vicky Sekely, who cruised through the B flight despite a one-set hiccup against Furman senior Susan Bitetti forced. Joining Sekely in the Georgetown B Flight were sophomores Maddie Jaeger and Micky Rollings, as well as junior Alexandra Landers. Despite strong performances, all three of them fell in the first-round to some very tough competition.

“Vicky struggled in the beginning, and then just turned it around,” Ernst said. “I saw her play her best tennis I’ve ever seen her play in three years. It’s amazing what these girls can do with a little bit of confidence.”

As for the other Hoyas, junior Nora Montgomery played very tight matches against opponents from West Virginia, Furman and UNC-W in the B and C Flights but failed to earn a win.

As a whole, Georgetown’s performance proved that this season could still be a good one for the Hoyas.

“We’re just getting more and more respect throughout the region,” Ernst said. “[But] I’d like to see everyone get a little bit of success right now.”

Judging by the team’s success this weekend, it’s unlikely that Ernst will be disappointed any time soon.

The Hoyas return to the Hilltop this weekend to host the three-day Georgetown Classic.

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