For the first time since Jan. 17, the Georgetown men’s tennis (5-4) team only picked up one match victory, falling 4-1 at the hands of SUNY-Binghamton (8-4) on Saturday.
The Hoyas had the momentum entering Saturday’s match. On Friday, SUNY-Binghamton suffered an embarrassing 7-0 loss to VCU. The Bearcats’ loss ended their five-match win streak. Meanwhile, the Hoyas were coming off a convincing 5-2 victory over Davidson. Georgetown, however, was unable to execute.
“I might have slightly underestimated them,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “I didn’t think they were going to be as good as they were.”
Georgetown’s sole victory of the match came courtesy of sophomore Daniel Khanin at first singles. He defeated Binghamton junior Robin Lesage in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. With the win, Khanin improved to 3-5 in singles play this spring. Ernst believes Khanin’s recent performances are indicative of his potential going forward.
“Danny Khanin is starting to play like he can play,” Ernst said. “Playing solid, staying focused, playing tough, not making too many errors and winning at number one [singles].”
Junior Shane Korber playedsecond singles for the Hoyas. With the 6-3, 6-2 loss, his singles record dropped to 4-4. Freshman Jack Murphy was outmatched by sophomore Sidhartha Hazarika and fell in straight sets at third singles with a 6-3, 6-3 result. The lopsided result was not because of Murphy’s poor play though, according to Ernst.
“That guy was legit,” Ernst said. “He could play in a lot of lineups across the board in college tennis. I mean he could really play. Jack didn’t play badly, but the guy had huge forehands and was just really talented. He could beat anyone on any given day.”
The fourth and fifth singles matches were more competitive than second and third, as both went to three sets. Junior Alex Tropiano, playing fourth singles, fell 6-4 in his first set, but responded in the second to win 6-3. Ultimately, Binghamton junior Ismael Dinia dominated the third set, 6-2, to claim the match victory.
“Alex Tropiano played some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play,” Ernst said. “He just couldn’t keep doing it; he ran out of ammunition.”
Senior co-captain Casey Distaso played fifth singles for the Hoyas and also played in a tight yet unpredictable match. Distaso fell in the first set in a lopsided 6-1 result, but came back to win the second set 7-6 (9-7) But Distaso suffered an injury in the third set, which caused play to pause. Ultimately, he was unable to regain the momentum and dropped the final set 6-0.
Murphy and Tropiano were paired to compete at first doubles, while Distaso and Khanin were paired at second doubles. Meanwhile, freshman duo Max Novak and Jordan Portner competed at third doubles. The doubles matches were not completed and the point was not awarded because Binghamton had already claimed the victory.
Noticeably absent from the lineup was Georgetown freshman Yannik Mahlangu. Thus far this season, Mahlangu has been one of the team’s strongest freshmen. Although Mahlangu fell at fifth singles against Davidson last weekend and fourth singles against Bryant, he won in a three set battle against Yale — one of the strongest teams that Georgetown has played this season. Additionally, he was named Big East male tennis player of the week in January.
Despite the disappointing result, Ernst is looking forward to future matches.
“Our sights are really set on the Big East tournament,” Ernst said. “Even when we lose I’m just looking for improvement, so I’m actually happier than you’d think.”
Now the Hoyas will begin preparations for a trio of matches in California on March 8, 10 and 11. Georgetown will begin its west coast road trip with a match against the University of California Santa Barbara on the eighth. UC Riverside and UC Irvine will follow, in that order. These will be Georgetown’s first true away matches since a pair in New Haven, Conn., early in February.