The Georgetown tennis teams are set to host the Georgetown Classic this weekend, as both the men and women will play their first home matches this season. George Washington University and Morgan State will visit the Hilltop in the round-robin tournament.
Head Coach Gordie Ernst noted how this tournament would differ from be similar to Georgetown Classics of the past. A lack of outdoor courts, in large part because of the construction of the new John Thompson Intercollegiate Athletic Center, means that the tournament environment will be very different, and the numbers of matches will be scaled down.
“We are not playing the traditional Georgetown Classic with a lot of matches; this is totally just about getting experience,” said Ernst.
The men’s team welcomes two new freshmen this season, Peter Beatty and Marco Lam, while bringing back four seniors. In all, the Hoyas will have eight returning players on the roster, including junior Daniel Khanin, who was one of the team’s leading singles players last year with a 14-17 record.
Ernst believes that the freshmen are ready to immediately gain experience in college play. In fact, getting the newcomers experience in the fall will pay off for the spring season. Beyond player development, the coaching staff feels that the new additions will bring an instant positive impact.
“I expect the freshmen to play, to gain experience and develop. I think it will help them compete for the line up in the spring,” Ernst said. “The freshmen are hungry and they want to play. I think that helps the rest of the team. They are going to respond as well.”
Sophomore Jack Murphy will look to build on a strong freshman campaign, in which he finished with a 9-4 singles record and a 11-7 record in doubles during the fall season. The Blue and Gray will need to see similar, if not better, numbers from Murphy and other members of the sophomore class this season if the team wants to improve on last season’s record.
Georgetown will also look to improve on an 8-13 finish last year, which included a 1-2 record in the Big East. The Hoyas did finish with a positive 5-4 mark at home, and will hope that the upcoming tournament will bring with it the return of the team’s traditional success at home. The Hoyas put up a 10-1 record at home during the 2012-2013 season.
The women’s team, meanwhile, will also have two freshmen on the roster, but will bring back just one senior. Four sophomores and three juniors will bring the number of players with college experience to eight, the same amount as the men. The Georgetown women also plan to use this weekend and the early part of the season to gain experience for the new players and allow the older part of the team to re-acclimate to the demands of the season.
Ernst specifically mentioned lone senior Sophie Panarese as an important part of the season. The coaches will rely not only on her play on the court, but also her leadership off of it. Despite the six underclassmen on the team, Ernst thinks the more seasoned players will complement the younger players.
“We have a fantastic bunch of players on both teams with a perfect amount of experience and youth,” said Ernst. “We have some great young players and some very experienced players. It is a great balance.”
Last season the Hoyas finished at .500 with an 11-11 record overall, but the team believes that it will be able to end this year with a winning record.
For two teams so reliant on making the most of the younger players on the roster, early season tournaments such as the Georgetown Classic will be just as important for setting the tone for the season as for the actual results. Two squads with high expectations for both the fall and the spring will hope to gain experience and a positive result this weekend.