While Victoria Azarenka was catching the world’s attention working her way towards the women’s singles title at the Australian Open this past weekend, the Georgetown women’s tennis team was earning consecutive victories against Liberty and James Madison at White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

The Hoyas swept Liberty, 7-0, Friday and defeated JMU, 6-1, Saturday. These impressive performances have improved the Hoyas’ record to 2-1 in the spring season, their only loss coming at the hands of 35th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth.

Against the Liberty Flames, the Hoyas won all 6 singles matches without dropping a set. Sophomore Kelly Comolli put the Blue and Gray on the winning track with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 3, and senior Lauren Greco followed suit with a 6-2, 6-2 win at the No. 1 singles spot.

Junior Vicky Sekely won at No. 4, 6-1, 6-1. Sophomore Madeline Jaeger enjoyed similar success at No. 5 with a 6-3, 6-2 win and sophomore Tina Tehrani defeated her opponent, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2. Freshmen Sophia Panarese concluded singles play with a 6-0, 6-3 victory at No. 6.

The Hoyas also breezed through the doubles matches with the No. 1 pair of Greco and Comolli winning, 8-2, the No. 2 team of Tehrani and Sekely helping gain the doubles point with an 8-1 win and the No. 3 pair of Panarese and Jaeger holding on to win, 8-6.

Needless to say, Head Coach Gordie Ernst was very pleased with his team’s performance.

“The girls responded to the challenge. They knew they weren’t playing the 35th-ranked team in the country, and they showed how good they really are without worrying about who was on the other side of the net,” Ernst said. “Confidence is everything.”

The Hoyas’ strong performances continued the next day against JMU, with easy victories at No. 3, No. 5 and No. 2. After the Dukes rallied to take the No. 4 point, No. 1 Greco and No. 6 Panarese clinched the victory for the Hoyas in two tight contests.

Greco won in three sets, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, while Panarese faced a tiebreaker in her first set but managed to win, 7-6(6), 6-1. As in Friday’s match, the Blue and Gray nabbed the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

Coach Ernst had nothing but praise for the way his team handled the match against JMU.

“They won the points that really mattered,” Ernst said. “The JMU coach even said, ‘They won all the big points, all the points that they needed to win under pressure.'”

These victories are a big confidence boost for the Hoyas, as they prepare to face Pittsburgh on Feb. 11 in what will be their first Big East contest. Ernst thinks the victories at White Sulphur Springs will give the squad momentum going into the match against Pitt.

“Winning is a learned behavior, and this confidence will carry over to the match in Pittsburgh,” Ernst said. “Last year was the first time we had beat Pitt in years, so they will probably be coming into this match with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”

Despite the challenge, Ernst is optimistic about his team’s chances, due in part to the presence of strong team leaders.

“Kelly Comolli transferred from Cornell, and she has brought a tremendous energy and competitiveness that really adds to the team,” Ernst said. “And Lauren [Greco] has been great to have. She continues to amaze, she gives it her all and she wants to win for the team her senior year.”

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