Following a 7-0 conference victory over Seton Hall (6-6, 1-1 Big East) for the Georgetown women’s tennis team (8-4, 1-3 Big East) and a loss to George Washington (8-7, 2-0 Atlantic Ten) on the Georgetown men’s side (5-7, 1-1 Big East) last week, both tennis teams will take on St. Francis this Saturday on the Georgetown Visitation Courts.
Both the St. Francis men’s (8-5) and women’s (3-10) teams are coming off losses to Duquesne last Friday, with the men’s team losing 4-3 and the women’s team losing 1-6.
“This is the first time we’ve ever played them, and I expect tougher play on the men’s side from looking at their results,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said of the upcoming St. Francis matches. “I know that our girls are anxious to play, though, because we’ve had a little dip in the schedule with Easter break.”
The women’s team dominated its entire last match against Seton Hall, notching the doubles point early with a trio of doubles wins from junior captain Victoire Saperstein and freshman Risa Nakagawa, freshman duo Sydney Goodson and Cecilia Lynham and the duo of sophomore Casey Marx and graduate student Liselot Koenen.
The momentum from the doubles point helped Georgetown sweep singles play with all six matches going in the Hoyas’ favor. Saperstein won at first singles in a 6-3, 6-4 victory, while Nakagawa endured a three-set battle in which she fell in the first set 6-2, but won the second and third with scores of 6-3 and 6-1, respectively. Sophomore transfer Sara Swift defeated her opponent in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 finish. Lynham, junior Sophia Barnard and Goodson all won their singles matches as well.
“Seton Hall is a conference match, and we’ve had tight losses against conference teams lately and so just coming out and really proving to ourselves that we do belong in the top-four top-five spots for a seed in the Big East is awesome,” Saperstein said.
Ernst added that both the men and women’s teams are progressing at impressive levels, and the Seton Hall win in particular proves that the women’s side is capable of postseason success.
“They’ve played enough now to not deal so much with nerves,” Ernst explained. “I have a lot of confidence in them, and we could make a run on both sides. Both teams are playing well.”
Saperstein, who was just named Big East player of the week, explained that her personal achievements take a backseat to the team’s accomplishments as a whole.
“I wasn’t the only one out there playing,” Saperstein said. “My doubles partner also won in doubles 6-0 and won in singles. Everyone wins, everyone deserves it. I think they just picked my name out of a hat.”
The men’s team recently fell in a tight match against George Washington in a 5-2 finish. The cross-town rival has been a tough opponent for the Blue and Gray in recent years.
“They’re good,” Ernst said before the team’s 5-2 loss March 25. “They get these good foreign guys on full scholarships. … They’re definitely tough.”
George Washington notched the doubles point early, securing wins in four out of the six singles matches that followed immediately after. Sophomore Peter Beatty won his match in third singles in a competitive three-set battle. Beatty notched the first set 7-5 but would go on to lose the second set 2-6. However, Beatty fought in a 10-point tiebreaker and eventually won the tiebreaker 10-8.
Freshman Will Sharton captured Georgetown’s only other singles victory on the day in the sixth singles slot over George Washington senior Cahit Kapukiran.
“He’s been up and down a little bit but he beat a really good player from GW[U], so I’m really happy for Will,” Ernst said.
Sharton is not the only freshman in the Georgetown tennis program that has impressed this season. On the women’s side, Nakagawa, Lynham, Goodson and Swift — who is a newcomer as well because of her status as a transfer — have all earned roles in the starting lineup.
“I mean they’ve been just incredible. I’m so proud of them this year. And then our transfer Sara also, who is technically considered a freshman as well, they’ve just adjusted so well and most of them are starting in the lineup, which is a big deal your freshman year,” Saperstein said.
“I’m so proud,” Ernst said. “When you have newcomers come in and get good wins, the best thing is that they’re still winning even when they’re not playing that great, and that shows that [they’re] playing to win instead of worrying about how they’re playing which means they’re competing, which is great.”
All the matches against St. Francis will take place starting at 10 a.m. on the Georgetown Visitation Courts.