GU HOYAS Sophomore Victoire Saperstein led the Hoyas with a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the top singles slot against Norfolk State.
Sophomore Victoire Saperstein led the Hoyas with a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the top singles slot against Norfolk State.

Thanks to the efforts of sophomores Victoire Saperstein and Sophia Barnard, the Georgetown women’s tennis team (2-1) powered past Norfolk State (0-5) and Campbell (1-2) this weekend at the 4-1 Invitational Match, though it fell to Virginia Commonwealth (6-1).

“It was a great weekend,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “We got the experience from playing a team like VCU — we got beat, but I’m just really happy we ended up playing them first, getting beat, and then learning from that. … We just did such a great job as a team.”

The match, hosted by VCU, took place in Richmond, Va., and marked the spring debut for the young squad. Taking place over the course of a two-day span, Georgetown competed against Norfolk State and Virginia Commonwealth on Friday to kick off its weekend matches.

VCU swept Georgetown, defeating all four singles competitors in straight-set matches. Sophomore Victoire Saperstein competed in the top singles slot between the two teams and fell to No.86 Cindy Chala in a 6-3, 6-2 result. The Hoyas lost in the three remaining singles slots, while the doubles pairing of senior captain Sophie Panarese and freshman Casey Marx lost 6-2, 6-1.

Later on in the day, Georgetown bounced back with a resounding 4-0 victory over Norfolk State. Saperstein routed her opponent at No. 1 singles in a 6-2, 6-0 result. Sophomore Sophia Barnard won in the second singles slot in a straight set victory, while Panarese also won in the third singles slot.
The Hoyas also impressed in the doubles slot due to the performances of sophomore Madeline Foley and junior Liselot Koenen, who finished off the sweep in a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

“Victoire played the best tennis she’s played since the Big East [tournament] last year,” Ernst said. “Sophia Barnard didn’t play nervous at all, she just played a great, smart, competitive match. She just did things better than she did last year and in matches she’s lost.”

The Campbell match the following day proved a much tighter contest. Edging over the Camels 3-2, the heroics of Barnard and Saperstein proved integral to the win. Both won in their singles matches, while freshman Daphne de Chatellus and Marx lost in their singles contest. Putting pressure on the doubles contest, Koenen and Panarese won a tight straight-set match with a 7-5, 7-5 result.

Georgetown has kicked off its spring season with the match hosted by VCU for the past four seasons. All the competitions have showed similar results — the record between the Rams and Hoyas is 4-0 in VCU’s favor. On the flip side, Georgetown holds a 3-0 record over Campbell in the 4-1 Invitational Matches.
Besides Marx, de Chatellus and Foley, all of Georgetown’s players have seen VCU and Campbell in 4-1 Invitational Matches in the past. Last year, Barnard went 1-1 in singles play — losing to VCU and beating Campbell — in her matches, while Saperstein went 1-1 in doubles play. Koenen stepped up in the first singles slot against VCU last year, but fell in a 6-1, 6-3 decision on Friday. The matches this year saw the absence of graduates Madeline Jaeger and Kelly Comolli, both of whom played key roles in the Hoyas’ last contest in Richmond.

Preparation for future matches, especially Big East matches, holds priority for the Hoyas. Thus, competition against strong teams such as VCU provides valuable opportunities to prep for matches that hold more significance. Though Ernst knows some of the tweaks the team has to make, overall he is pleased with the team’s current state.

“We need to cut down on errors, [have] fewer double faults, get the ability to put balls away — some of these teams like VCU can just smack it away,” Ernst said. “But I actually thought we had more to work on than we actually do, which is really positive. We just compete really well, and we’re in pretty good shape right now, and that’s great.”

Now, the Hoyas will prepare to compete against James Madison this Saturday in Alexandria, Va. The match will begin at 4 p.m.

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