The Georgetown University men’s and women’s tennis teams fell April 8 to the University of Delaware with only two games left to go before the Big East tournament.
Hosting the game next to campus at Georgetown Visitation Prep, the men’s team (10-7, 3-2 Big East) narrowly lost 4-3 as the Delaware Blue Hens (13-8, 3-4 CAA) broke the Georgetown Hoyas’ three-match winning streak. The women’s team (11-8, 4-3 Big East) also played at Visitation, succumbing 5-1 to a tough Delaware side (20-3, 6-1 CAA) that had won 15 of its last 16 matches.
The men’s team came into the match with confidence after winning its last two matches against Howard University and conference rival DePaul University. The Hoyas sought revenge for their 4-3 loss at Delaware last season — but instead suffered the same result.
The Hoyas started the match down 1-0 after losing the doubles point, but they quickly rebounded on the scorecard after winning the first three singles matches of the day to take a 3-1 lead. Georgetown captured wins at the first, third and fourth positions.
“The men started off the day strong with three singles wins — two of them in third-set comebacks,” Georgetown Head Coach Freddy Mesmer told The Hoya. “We really have grown as a group and are putting ourselves in great positions to win these matches.”
Sophomore Jake Fellows showcased why he deserved the Big East Player of the Week honors April 3 with a gritty 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win.
“I had kind of a rough start. [My opponent] took the first set, and I wasn’t playing super great. I got unlucky with a few net courts, and there were a lot of distractions with the spectators,” Fellows told The Hoya. “Fortunately, I found my footing in the second set and cruised from there. Throughout the match, I looked to dominate with my forehand and come to the net. I had a lot of opportunities to break him, so I just looked to hold serve to close out the match.”
The victory marked Fellows’ third straight win after stepping up to the first singles position.
The team match came down to fifth singles, where sophomore Advhvyte Sharma found himself in a hard-fought battle. The match came down to the wire, but Delaware ultimately clinched the match with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win.
The women’s team had a tougher time against one of the most dominant teams in the Big East. The Hoyas were competitive in doubles play, with first-years Paige Gilbert and Ashley Kennedy winning their match at the third position 6-4.
At second doubles, junior Morgan Coburn and senior Olivia Ashton fell just short in a 7-6(5) tiebreaking defeat that decided the doubles point.
Coburn bounced back in singles at the sixth position with a third-set tiebreaking win, but Georgetown could not capture another singles win.
Gilbert, who won six of her last seven matches, was leading her opponent 7-6, 4-1 when the match was called for darkness, and she likely would have brought the match score to 5-2 if able to finish her match.
Mesmer said that he acknowledged the hard work his team has put in throughout the season and looks ahead to the rest of the campaign.
“Our team has battled hard all year, and I am looking forward to more matches this weekend as we close our Big East play against Villanova, who we defeated last year,” Mesmer said.
The match was special for both teams and Mesmer because it was held on Georgetown’s Senior Day, which honored two players on both the men’s and women’s teams.
“We celebrated Harry Yang, Kieran Foster, Chloe Bendetti and Agata Mikos,” Mesmer said. “This was especially meaningful for me because this was the first class of student-athletes that I started my journey at Georgetown with.”
The Hoyas will next travel to Pennsylvania to take on Temple University and Villanova University on April 14-15.
Fellows said he is optimistic about the Hoyas’ chances heading into the Big East tournament in South Carolina on April 21.
“I’m going to try to use these matches to build my confidence. Hopefully, we’ll be seeded three at the tournament,” Fellows said. “Last year, we lost 4-3 in the first round and while all the teams have gotten better, I think we have a good shot at winning the tournament with our group.”
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