Continuing its recent dominant play, the Georgetown women’s team (10-4, 1-3 Big East) punctuated an 8-1 nine-game stretch with a 5-2 win over George Washington (5-12, 1-4 Atlantic 10) Sunday, April 10. The Hoyas will now face the Richmond Spiders (12-8, 1-3 Atlantic 10) Friday afternoon in their final home match of the season.
Against the Colonials, the Hoyas lost the doubles point, despite a strong performance from junior Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa. However, in singles play, the Hoyas eventually tied the match with a straight-set win from Nakagawa in second singles. Freshman Sydney Goodson also triumphed in the third singles slot.
Ultimately, the Hoyas clinched the win with victories in the first, fourth and sixth singles spots. Saperstein and junior Sophie Barnard both won in three sets in the first and fourth spots, respectively, while sophomore Daphne de Chatellus won in straight sets against her opponent.
“When you get a win like that, it makes you even [harder to beat] in the next match,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said.
The Hoyas have won eight of the last nine matches, losing only to Xavier (15-5, 4-1 Big East) last month. Singles play has been a strength for the Hoyas, with Saperstein, a former Big East player of the week, and Nakagawa making great strides throughout the season. Additionally, the addition of three freshmn and sophomore transfer Sara Swift has significantly contributed to the power of the singles lineup.
In the past two seasons, the Hoyas and the Spiders have traded wins in closely contested matchups with the matches ending 4-3 both times.
Last season, the Hoyas lost in a tough fight, wherein the doubles point was ultimately the difference in Georgetown’s 4-3 loss. Both Saperstein and sophomore Casey Marx, however, had strong singles play performances against the Spiders last season. Saperstein dropped her first set 6-7 but won the next two 6-4 to win the match, while Marx won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
The 2014-15 iteration of the Spiders saw them enter the final stretch of their season on an eight-game win streak before dropping four in a row at the end of the regular season. This year the Spiders have been inconsistent for the most part, putting together win streaks of three, four and five games but also dropping four in a row midway through the season.
Much like last season’s matchup against Richmond, doubles play will still be one of the biggest challenges in the upcoming contest. Nevertheless, Ernst said he remains confident in his team’s ability to perform at a high level.
“The greatest challenge is for the girls to play relaxed, loose tennis and believe in themselves,” Ernst said. “When we do that, we can beat anyone.”
The match against Richmond will be great practice for the quickly approaching Big East Tournament from April 28 to May 1. The Hoyas have consistently been improving from competition to competition in recent weeks.
“The Big East [tournament] is right around the corner and we are peaking at the right time,” Ernst said. “Everyone is playing good tennis.”
The Hoyas will look to improve upon their tournament results from last season, in which they fell in the quarterfinals to Marquette 4-0. After bringing in several four- and five-star recruits this season, the team, on paper, has the talent and star power to produce even better results.
With its recent hot streak and momentum in tow, the women’s team will square off against Richmond on Friday at noon at the Georgetown Visitation Courts.
The men’s team will return to action against the Villanova Wildcats (7-11, 0-1 Big East) on April 22.
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