After the men trotted out their `A’ team at the Bollettieri Collegiate Challenge, and the women leaned on upperclassmen for a 4-3 win over Delaware last weekend, this weekend was all about experience for the Hoyas, as they competed at the Hampton Roads Invitational Tournament with players from 18 schools.
“You need competition and you need action, or you get stale,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. .That’s the point of the fall: to play different players and to get young kids exposed.”
Freshman David Tillem had not competed since Oct. 3 against Delaware and had missed a number of recent practices due to Jewish holidays, but if he was rusty, his scores did not reflect it. Tillem defeated Winston-Salem State freshman Gilbert Princeston 6-0, 6-1, Maryland Baltimore County junior Fernando Ferreira 6-4, 6-3 and Old Dominion freshman Yakov Diskin 6-3, 6-1 before bowing out against UMBC freshman Chris Meyer 6-3, 5-7, 0-1 (9).
“It was fun,” Tillem said. “I thought I competed well.”
Though Tillem was up a set and had a match point against Meyer, Ernst was still encouraged by a strong performance by the freshman.
“He just loves tennis and loves to battle,” Ernst said.
Junior Ted Tywang fell 7-5, 6-0 to Drexel junior Omar Laalej in the first round of the `A’ flight, but proceeded to walk all over GWU junior Elliot Daniels 8-0 in his first consolation bout. After a bye into the quarterfinals, Tywang beat Delaware sophomore Nolan Greenberg 8-1 to move within a victory of the finals. Old Dominion freshman Aleksandr Seleznev was too strong, however, beating Tywang 8-2 and ultimately winning the consolation bracket.
Freshman Will Lowell beat James Madison’s Jesse Tar 3-6, 7-6 (9), 1-0 (8), and sophomore Ken Wong blasted Winston Salem State freshman Phi Tran 6-0, 6-0, but both fell in their next match.
“I look for bright spots and those were bright spots,” Ernst said of the freshmen, Lowell and Tillem.
Georgetown’s `A’ flight doubles tandem of Tillem and Tywang lost 8-2 in the first round, but Lowell and sophomore Kenneth Wong won two matches in the B bracket, beating UMBC 8-6 and Loyola 8-3 before dropping their semifinals contest to senior Nate Grover and junior Rodrigo Souza of Old Dominion.
Ernst was particularly complimentary of Tywang’s performance. “Ted is just a great kid,” he said. “He’s not a captain but he is a leader in his own guy. Other guys really respect him.”
On the women’s side, it was, surprisingly, someone who lost twice that most impressed Ernst. Courtney Olsen fell 1-6, 2-6 to William & Mary freshman Ragini Acharya and Old Dominion sophomore Charleen Haarhoff, but was competitive throughout, Ernst said.
“She can trade points with anyone in the country,” he said.
“It was a lot of fun even though I lost,” Olsen said. “The girls [I played] were really good. It was good to go down and get the competition.”
Junior Liz Winokur lost in the first round as well, dropping a 5-7, 4-6 decision to James Madison freshman Rebecca Erickson, but went on to win three straight in the consolation side. She ultimately lost to Temple senior Yuri Kurashima, 8-3.
Freshman Shelley Murveit also took home a pair of victories. urveit beat Longwood senior Alicia Raymond 6-0, 6-1 and Radford sophomore Madison McGuire 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles play, Senior Eileen Boyle and Olsen beat sophomore Neely Edwards and senior Jessica Nixon of Radford, and juniors Natalia Fugate and Katie Miglin of Mary Washington, before dropping a 5-8 decision to Delaware.
Cohen and Darnell lost their only doubles match 2-8 to juniors Barbara Costa and Linda Garder of Old Dominion.
“My focus,” Ernst said, “was to get all the girls in; to play them all, and it worked well.”
Ernst also keyed upon increased team camaraderie as one of the weekend’s positives. “It was great for team bonding,” he said. “When the entire team travels, it brings them closer together.”
While the women are finished until January, the men head to the University of Pennsylvania later this week for the ITA Division I Northeast Regional.
“[Freshman] Anthony Tan and [redshirt junior] Jeff Schnell can play with anyone in our region,” Ernst said. “They are fired up about a crack at Ivy League players.
“It’s a respect thing. We can beat the Ivy League teams and any of their players.”
Play begins Thursday and runs through next Tuesday.