Amid the groans of exertion and shouts of frustration, something remarkable was taking place on Georgetown’s tennis courts. GW was slowly capturing both the men and women’s singles tournaments, defeating, most notably, Georgetown and Marist College (N.Y.).
Junior Kendall Swenson steamrolled her way to the finals where she managed to snag the tournament in two sets (6-4, 6-4) from Marist’s Mirelva Colon.
Coach Dawn Buth was pleased with the outcome of the tournament. She didn’t let the absence of graduated senior Anastacia Skavronskaia phase her, even though she was one of their stronger players.
“Losing seniors is always tough,” Buth said. “But this year’s seniors Mara Frisch and Rachael Honig have done a fantastic job of stepping up as leaders and replacing the gap.”
With a small squad this season, four new freshmen have changed the dynamic of the team.
The first tournament is always a little daunting for freshmen and a tough indicator for the rest of the season, especially since they are still trying to balance school and tennis, Buth said. Rachael Hesling, Verena Knodler, Carina Sohaili and Michele Style have made the transition look easy.
“These girls are very capable players,” Buth said. “The practices show that we still have a lot to learn, but we have a great foundation to build on.”
Hesling exemplified this as she fought her way through the consolation semifinals, winning 7-5, 6-4, to advance to the consolation finals. Despite gaining an early lead by narrowly winning the first set 7-6, she lost the second set 6-1 and the tiebreaker 6-10 to Marist’s Catlin Broderick.
“It was a little nerve-wracking for me,” Hesling said. “I felt like there was a lot of pressure riding on me, and that really intimidated me. But my teammates were unbelievably supportive all during my matches, and that really helped me keep my focus and control my fear.”
On the men’s squad, Elliott Daniels made it as far as the consolation semifinals before losing to Bert Baggio. He acknowledged the stiff competition of the other teams, but also said that the combination of the new coach and the return of the majority of players added a depth that the team lacked last year, which should prove very helpful in the coming matches.
“I was a little disappointed by the outcome of the matches,” men’s head coach Greg Munoz said. “Especially compared to some of the match play from last weekend’s tournament. I feel that some of the players came in with a little too much confidence, and that hurt them in the long run.”
Munoz stressed that it is early in the season and the team has hopefully learned its lesson.
“The freshmen have really helped add depth to the team as well,” Munoz said. “With only one senior, our top of the lineup isn’t going anywhere soon. We’ll be around for at least another year.”