Tennis wins Big East opener

February 16, 2012

This past Saturday, the Georgetown University women’s tennis team started its Big East Conference matches with the University of Pittsburgh.  The Hoyas beat the Panthers 4-2 last season after losing to them in a close 4-3 match in the spring of 2010, and they’ve continued their three-match winning streak by downing them 6-1 at the Alpha Tennis and Fitness Club.

Head Coach Gordie Ernst was proud of his team’s effort against the Panthers, who have historically been a thorn in the Hoyas’ side.

“Pittsburgh, they’re always tough,” Ernst said. “But we were ready, we matched up great throughout the lineup.”

For the singles matches, senior Lauren Greco defeated Pitt’s Jocelyn Lu in a close match of 6-2 in the first set, 3-6 in the second, and 10-7 in the third.  Sophomore Tina Tehrani beat Pitt’s Gabrielle Catanzariti 6-1 in both played sets.

Greco and Tehrani, both nationally ranked, give the Hoyas a formidable pair to lead the team, something Ernst has not had in the past. He’s especially proud of the sophomore’s progression after a stellar freshman campaign.

“Tina’s really coming on strong,” he said. “A one-two punch of Tehrani and Greco, they’re both nationally ranked, and they give us so much strength at the top.”

Sophomore Kelly Comolli fell to the Panthers’ Taylor Washington in a close match, losing the first set 7-5, winning the second 6-4, and losing in the third 10-8.  Junior Victoria Sekley in the fourth singles position beat Amanda Wickman of Pitt 6-3, 6-1. Freshman Sophie Panarese won against Kimmy Borza 6-2 in the first set, and while the second set presented more challenges, she came out on top 7-5. Ernst said Panarese, one of the highest-recruited freshmen in the country, provides excellent balance for the team in the sixth spot.

The Hoyas also performed strongly, winning two out of three doubles matches.  The first doubles players from Georgetown, Greco and Comolli, lost to Pitt’s Lu and Washington in a close 8-7 match.  Second doubles Tehrani and Sekely defeated Borza and Catanzariti of Pitt 8-2, and third doubles Jaegar and Panarese won 8-4 against the Panthers’ Wickman sisters.

The Blue and Gray (3-1 overall, 1-0 Big East) are starting their season off on a higher note than they did last year.  During the 2010-2011 tennis season, the women’s record for their first four games was 2-2.  While last season the women started their season competing with other Big East rivals Syracuse and DePaul, this extra win gives the Hoyas an edge over their competitors.

The men’s team, meanwhile, is coming off a 6-1 loss against Penn yesterday. Ernst was disappointed in the result, calling it a “tight match” despite the final score, but called losing their trip to Philadelphia “tough.” One bright spot was sophomore Andrew Dottino’s gritty two-set singles victory.

The men look to rebound versus Old Dominion on Saturday. Meanwhile, the women travel to Williamsburg, VA, for their next match against William and Mary this Friday at 4 p.m., and the team gets some time off before their next Big East conference game against Rutgers on February 23. The Hoya coach is not looking past William and Mary, though, as the Tribe almost beat nationally-ranked Washington.

“We have to play our very best tennis and we’ll have a shot,” he said.

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