The men’s and women’s tennis teams closed out their fall slates this past weekend with the ITA Regional Tournament, which featured top players from colleges across the Mid-Atlantic. While the men competed at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the women’s side took to the courts some three hours away in Norfolk, Va. on the campus of Old Dominion.
The performance of senior Lauren Greco, who reached the quarterfinals of the women’s singles bracket, was the definite highlight for the Blue and Gray. Greco, who hardly could have faced a tougher route along the way, was “amazing” according to men’s and women’s Head Coach Gordie Ernst.
“[It was] arguably the greatest performance this program has ever had,” he said.
Greco was first forced to fight her way through two qualifying rounds to even get to the main draw, defeating Virginia Tech’s top singles player before posting an impressive victory over Virginia senior Lindsey Hardenbergh in the Round of 16. An All-American last year and the top-ranked player in the region, Hardenbergh couldn’t get a set off Greco, falling 6-4, 6-4. But the quarterfinals proved to be the end for Greco, as she lost to eventual tournament champion, Hardenberh’s teammate junior Hana Tomljanovic. Despite the defeat, Greco’s run should go a long way in building optimism for the upcoming season.
Elsewhere for the Hoya women, sophomore Tina Tehrani — who was named the Big East Player of the Month for September — made it into the round of 32 before falling in three hard-fought sets. Ernst found Greco’s and Tehrani’s performances promising.
“[Their form] gives you a boost of confidence,” Ernst said.
Also encouraging was the play of freshman Sophie Panarese, who got herself a couple of quality results in consolation singles to gain vital experience.
The men, however, found more success in doubles formats than in singles. The pairing of senior Andrew Bruhn and junior Charlie Caris found the most success for the men. Bruhn and Caris downed pairs from Old Dominion and Virginia Tech before narrowly falling to a top-ranked GW duo, barely missing out on what would have been a memorable quarterfinal appearance
“[Making it to the quarterfinals] would’ve been awesome,” Ernst said. “But still, that’s a couple of good wins on the doubles front.”
Freshman Shane Korber and sophomore Andrew Dottino were Georgetown’s doubles entry, and the two underclassmen reached the second round.
Singles play didn’t go quite as well for the Blue and Gray. Bruhn and Caris were the only two of the four Georgetown players to gain guaranteed qualification to the main draw, and were both eliminated in the initial round of 64. Korber and Dottino, who did not qualify for automatic berths, each progressed to the second round of the qualifying stages but made it no further.
Nevertheless, the passion to improve is a key tool for success, and to Ernst, these players are on the right track.
“This is the hardest-working team I’ve ever had, so they’re going to get there come springtime,” Ernst said.
That drive, combined with the flashes of potential shown throughout the season, gives hope for what’s to come for both teams. Bruhn, who did not quite play up to his usual standards this weekend in Charlottesville, was outstanding at the Georgetown Classic in September. Contributions from Caris, Korber, and Dottino have likewise demonstrated Georgetown’s potential.
“It was just a great fall,” Ernst said. “It was a great fall in a lot of ways.”
The Georgetown tennis program will look to parlay the fall’s lessons into the spring season, beginning for both the men’s and women’s teams on Jan. 20 in the VCU 4+1.