The Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams opened up their spring schedule this past Friday in Richmond, Va. where they faced off against Campbell and Virginia Commonwealth. Although the men lost both their matches, the women managed a split with a win against Campbell and a loss against VCU.
Georgetown enters the 2012-13 season coming off of a marginally successful last season, in which both the men and the women made it to the second round of the Big East Championship. Despite the exit of two of the program’s top players, Lauren Greco and Andrew Bruhn, Head Coach Gordie Ernst still has high hopes for the season.
“My expectations are very similar to our year last year,” he said. “The girls knocked off a team like Syracuse, which we’ve never done before, and I think we have the potential to do that again, beating a team of that caliber.”
Much of Ernst’s faith is being stored in two of his senior captains, Charlie Caris and Vicky Sekely, who have more than proven their ability to win matches, as both have over 100 wins apiece in their Georgetown careers. That being said, sophomore Sophie Panarese was the only one on the women’s side able to win a singles set against VCU, suggesting that in the void of graduating seniors and injuries, the team will have to rely more on its young standouts like Panarese.
“She’s a great competitor, she loves to play, and she’s one of those players who’s going to win a lot of matches this year for us,” said Ernst.
For the men, another of those young talents is sophomore Daniel Khanin. The Baldwin, N.Y. native is a highly regarded member coming from the prestigious Bollettieri Tennis Academy, a live-in tennis training school in Bradenton, Fla. that has churned out stars like the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, and Andre Agassi.
“The guy’s got firepower like anyone in the league … he’s played against some of the best [amateurs] in the world. I think that he’ll surprise some people,” Ernst said of Khanin.
Both the men and women will be on the road this week when they face Duquesne on Friday. The women will then take on Pittsburgh in their Big East opener the next day, while the men will be on the road at Toledo.
Ernst assures that this season will not be without its host of challenges, but the most glaring will be sustaining a high effort level in all their matches.
“In my seven years here we’ve had some ups and downs, we’ve had some good teams and we’ve had some not so good teams. The biggest challenge when we’ve had good teams is to get them to bring it every single match.”