With a 6-1 victory over the Richmond Spiders (12-9, 3-3 Atlantic Ten) last Friday, the Georgetown women’s tennis team (11-4, 1-3 Big East) has now won nine of its last 10 matches as the team nears the end of regular-season play before the Big East tournament at the end of the month.
According to Head Coach Gordie Ernst, the victory over Richmond — Georgetown’s fourth consecutive victory — is another example of the team’s consistent dominance and competitiveness in its 2015-16 campaign.
“I think that there’s an unbelievable commitment to their games and to getting better. … This team is willing to do the work and do what I ask them to do to up their level of competitiveness,” Ernst said. “They want to go out and they look across the net and say, ‘You know what, I’m not going to lose today.’ And they might lose, but that’s the mentality you have to have and they have it.”
The Hoyas dominated in doubles play against the Spiders, swiftly earning wins in the first and second doubles slot to capture the first point of the match. Junior captain Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa continued their season-long success as a doubles pair — they have a doubles record of 10-3 this season — and downed their opponents 6-3. Sophomore Sara Swift and freshman Sydney Goodson won their second doubles match 6-2. Junior Sophie Barnard and sophomore Casey Marx did not finish their doubles match, as the point had already been decided.
“We haven’t gotten the doubles point in awhile, so getting that really got everyone hyped up and we were really excited to move forward in the match,” Goodson said.
Georgetown used the momentum from its doubles win to nearly sweep singles play. Saperstein downed Richmond senior Anna Abadias Morales 6-3, 6-0 in the first singles slot. Nakagawa defeated Richmond sophomore Gaby Rosales decisively, winning 6-2, 6-1. Swift and Barnard both earned straight set victories in the third and sixth singles positions, respectively.
“My goal is just to go out there and win in straight sets,” Swift said. “I won the first set and then the second set was a lot closer, but I got the break towards the end of the second set, which made all the difference. I was able to finish up and close out the match and hold serve so I was excited.”
Goodson fell 6-1 in the first set of her fourth singles match but bounced back in the second set to win 6-4. Because the match was already decided by the time Goodson began the third set, she and Richmond junior Kelsey Williams entered into a 10-point tiebreak, which Goodson won 10-5.
“She was definitely really on her game, but I kind of knew I just had to wear her down and started making more balls, playing better and won in a close 6-4 second set,” Goodson said. “Risa, our number two player, actually clinched the match just a few minutes before I won the second set so I did a 10-point tiebreaker which was nice instead of having to play the full thing. I ended up winning that 10-5 and it was great, I was really, really happy about it.”
Freshman Cecilia Lynham competed in one of the closest matches of the day. She lost the first set 7-5, but came back and won the second set 6-4. Similar to Goodson’s match, Lynham and her opponent — Richmond freshman Ana Ramirez — only played a 10-point tiebreak. Lynham ultimately fell 11-9 in that tiebreak, giving Richmond its sole victory on the day.
The victory over is one of Georgetown’s most dominant wins over Richmond in recent history for the women’s tennis program. The Hoyas’ most recent victory over the Spiders came in 2014 with a 4-3 finish. Meanwhile, the team’s victory on Friday was a near sweep outside of Lynham’s close contest.
“We all had a ton of energy and went out there, and just everyone played so well and the improvement that we’ve seen from the beginning of the season up until now is just incredible,” Swift said. “I think we have a little more work to do in the next couple weeks but hopefully we can do some damage at the Big East.”
The win came on Senior Day, when the team honored seniors Mimi Lynham — older sister of Cecilia Lynham — and Liselot Koenen.
“They’re just amazing people,” Goodson said of Lynham and Koenen. “They want to make sure everyone on the team is happy and that it’s a family, so we definitely wanted to make sure we made the day special for them.”
“Both of them are such huge assets to the team and it won’t be the same without them,” Swift added.
The match against Richmond was Georgetown’s penultimate match of the team’s regular season campaign. Next, the Hoyas will take on Villanova (9-8, 0-1 Big East) April 22. Georgetown has been dominant over Villanova in recent years, tallying a 5-0 record in the teams’ last five meetings in both regular season and postseason play.
The Georgetown men’s tennis team (7-8, 1-1 Big East) will return to play, also against Villanova, (7-11) after a weekend of rest. On April 9, the men’s team defeated Bryant (9-11, 3-0 Northeast Conference). The match against Villanova will be the men’s team’s last match of the year before Big East play.
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