Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

TENNIS | Men’s and Women’s Teams Overwhelmed in Opening Matches

Both of Georgetown’s tennis teams fell 0-7 in their opening matches of the season. On Saturday, Jan. 22, the men’s squad took on No. 20 Harvard, while the women competed against the University of Maryland.

The loss will help the Hoyas get ready for future competitions, according to Head Coach Freddy Mesmer. 

“We started off with our toughest opponents of the year,” Mesmer told The Hoya. “Playing these teams early on will help us in the long run to getting match tough by the time the conference tournament comes around.”

Playing the ranked Harvard Crimson was a good opportunity for Mesmer to see how his team competes in real matches and deals with adversity. About half of the men’s team had never played a match for Georgetown, and the other half had not competed recently because of the pandemic.

Fortunately for the men, under Mesmer, the Hoyas recruited one of the best first-year classes in recent program history, so Georgetown will have a strong starting lineup. This depth was on full display against Harvard as the squad avoided blowout losses and remained competitive against a ranked foe. 

In one memorable match, at No. 4 singles, Georgetown first-year Adhvyte Sharma pushed Harvard’s Steven Sun to a third set, where he ultimately lost 7-6. At No. 1 singles, junior Kieran Foster also lost a tight match 7-6, 6-3 to Henry Von Der Schulenburg, who has a professional ranking of 1430. The losses were tough for Sharma and Foster, but the close scores demonstrate the competitiveness of Georgetown’s young talent. 

“Although we took confidence away from holding some ground, losing on all courts showed us roadmaps to improve,” Graduate Scott Bickel told The Hoya. “This is sort of where we’re at as a program, where we know we have elite talent and deep culture, but we’re still playing around with positions and learning how to peak at the right times.”

@hoyatennis | In their season opener, both the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams fell 0-7 to Harvard.

Sophomore Avantika Willy, who plays No. 1 singles for the Hoyas, said the women’s squad was disappointed to get swept but happy to regain a full roster. During last year’s condensed season, the women’s team only had five active players and were forced to default a position. Now they’re grateful to have new faces like first-year McHaley Ho, who played No. 3 singles against the University of Maryland.

Willy remained optimistic following the loss.

“Everyone fought hard out there, and we all left knowing what we need to work on for the upcoming matches,” Willy told The Hoya. “We’ve got such great chemistry off the court, and I can’t wait to see it translate on the court. We definitely are on an upwards trajectory.”

While this was the Hoyas’ first match of the season, both teams have practiced off-campus at local clubs during this virtual semester. Bickel said the men have been working on fitness, high percentage tennis and pattern work; Willy said the women have focused on their doubles game, especially being much more aggressive at the net and maximizing court positioning to control points. Willy also said the women’s team hopes to secure wins in all of its doubles matches.

The Hoyas have greatly benefited from the addition of David Smith as their new assistant coach. Smith played for UC Berkeley before spending three years playing professionally, where he achieved a career-high ranking of 793 on the ATP tour. He has since pursued a career in biomechanics, exercise therapy and sports performance.

“I am looking forward to both teams competing hard this spring with a loaded slate of matches all the way through April. We have a lot of winnable matches and hopefully, our teams continue to develop to bring us closer to that prized Conference Title,” Mesmer said.

Georgetown’s men’s team will have their next chance to compete Jan. 28 when they take on St. Francis College Brooklyn, hosted in Annapolis, Md. Georgetown’s women’s team competes the next day, facing off against Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

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