As the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams enter the closing stages of their 2014 seasons, they’ll proceed to participate in a variety of non-conference matches. After splitting matches at home this past weekend, both squads faced University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Wednesday at UMBC’s courts.
After the losses, Georgetown will look to regroup when it returns to the courts this weekend and play against the George Washington, Old Dominion and Norfolk State.
The UMBC women’s team (6-9) entered Wednesday’s match coming off a 7-0 loss to Xavier ,while the men’s team had recently defeated Xavier — a team the Georgetown men lost to earlier this week.
“Any time you lose to a team that another team beat you’re like, ‘Whoa.’ That definitely gets your attention,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “We beat them 4-3 last year so they’re really going to be coming at us.”
The Georgetown men fell to UMBC on Wednesday in a 4-3 decision. Meanwhile, the Georgetown women defeated UMBC 4-3.
Both matches hinged on the doubles point as singles were split between the Hoyas and Retrievers. The women swept in all three doubles matches. Freshman Victoire Saperstein fell at first singles in a 6-0, 6-1 decision. Senior co-captain Madeline Jaeger fell at third singles as did freshman Sophia Barnard at fourth singles. Nonetheless, victories from senior co-captain Kelly Comolli, junior Sophie Panarese and sophomore Liselot Koenen secured the match.
For the men, although juniors Alex Tropiano and Shane Korber won at first doubles with a 8-6 result, UMBC won at second and third doubles, which ultimately sealed the Hoyas’ fate. Singles victories came from Tropiano, senior co-captain Casey Distasoand junior John Brosens.
George Washington, Old Dominion and Norfolk State will be formidable opponents for the Hoyas over the weekend. However, considerable history with the programs and the challenges those teams present will be extremely helpful to prepare for the Big East tournament, according to Ernst.
“They’re pretty strong again,” Ernst said, speaking specifically to the women’s Old Dominion match. “This is going to be a tough match for the girls but it’s great, great preparation for the Big East tournament.”
The women’s team will take on Old Dominion (10-6) at home. The Monarchs face the Hoyas with a variety of lopsided victories and losses under their belt. Though they dominated Morgan State 7-0 earlier this week, they were swept by No. 1 Duke and South Florida in March.
Meanwhile, pressure is on the men’s team for its match against cross-city rivals the George Washington University Colonials (12-6) on that same day. GWU hosts Georgetown at the GWU Tennis Center. GWU faces Georgetown coming off a 4-0 loss to No. 21 Wake Forest. However, preceding this loss it had an 11-1 record in its previous 12 matches.
“We haven’t beaten them in a long time. They’ve had some great teams and we’re the underdog, they’re the favorite, so we’re just hoping to have a stronger showing this year,” Ernst said. “They’re always a strong team but our guys are looking for a piece of that right now.”
Ernst added that the rivalry does add more weight to the match.
“They feel the pressure too much against them, and they shouldn’t, he said”
The Colonials have dominated the Hoyas over the past five years, boasting a 5-0 record over the Blue and Gray. Overall, GWU won 28 of those matches, while Georgetown only notched seven.
The next day, the men will take on the Norfolk State Spartans (11-6) in Norfolk, Va.
Overall, these matches are occurring at an ideal time for the Hoyas. With the Big East tournament right around the corner, any sort of match play raises the Hoyas’ confidence and ability.
“Conditioning, playing long matches; to play GW and Old Dominion before the Big East is great preparation for that,” Ernst said. “It’s better than practicing to get ready for the Big East.”
After the array of matches this weekend, Georgetown will take on Big East foe Villanova. The Villanova men (3-13) and women (3-11, 0-2 Big East) are not expected to challenge Georgetown.
“They’re not the strongest —they’ve been down for a number of years here,” Ernst said. “We’ve been able to beat them, I think for every match.”
The George Washington match will begin at noon Friday at the GWU Tennis Center, while the women will also play Old Dominion at noon on the McDonough courts. The men will play Norfolk State at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, while both teams will compete with Villanova on April 16.