Last Friday, the Georgetown women’s tennis team (2-3, 0-2 Big East) dropped its sole home match of the season to St. John’s (6-2, 2-0 Big East) in a 5-2 decision.
The Hoyas battled against the Red Storm, snagging a key 6-3 victory in the No. 1 doubles slot from junior captain Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa, but the Red Storm ultimately came away with the doubles point after sealing the No. 2 and 3 competitions.
Both Nakagawa and sophomore Daphne de Chatellus won singles matches in the No. 2 and 5 singles slots, respectively, but St. John’s took the four other singles wins to seal its 5-2 victory.
Saperstein, whose loss in the No. 1 singles spot went into three sets, stressed how close the match was.
“St. John’s is one of the best teams in the Big East conference, and we knew that from the start — we knew that it was going to be a dogfight and that they were going to give everything they had. … There was this real thirst from both sides, and unfortunately on Friday they came out on top, but it was so close,” Saperstein said.
Friday’s contest was held at Yates Field House, the only match of the year where Georgetown could use its home-court advantage.
Saperstein said that playing at Yates energized the team and helped it to power through against one of the toughest competitors in the Big East.
“It really did feel like having a home-field advantage. We were really excited — we had a huge crowd, so there was a lot of excitement for the whole match,” Saperstein said.
During the upcoming spring break, the team will head to California to play against Point Loma Nazarene (4-3), University of California at San Diego (6-4), Loyola Marymount University (2-4) and University of California at Irvine (1-7, 0-1 Big West). After being restricted to indoor play and practice since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Georgetown will have the opportunity to adjust to an outdoor setting in California before it heads into a stretch of better weather back in D.C.
“[Playing outside] just makes you better because it’s just another level of focus, another thing that can come into play instead of just playing the opponent — you’re playing the elements too, and that changes a lot of things,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said.
Looking toward the Big East championships in the near future, Ernst said he believes that playing against tough opponents such as St. John’s is good preparation for his team. Georgetown also recently came off a similarly hard-fought match against DePaul (5-6, 1-0 Big East) Feb. 20, where the Hoyas ended up falling 6-1.
Ernst said his team still has room for improvement as it continues conference play after spring break and into April against strong teams like DePaul and St. Johns.
“They still are a little underconfident, and yet the other teams seem to play with a little more desperation on big points. We just kind of hope that the other girl misses or we hope that things will go our way — they are playing like their lives depend on it, and that’s different,” Ernst said.
The team’s spring break matches will begin March 5 with Point Loma, followed by UCSD on March 8, LMU on March 10 and UCI on March 16.
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