Men’s tennis handles Hoyas

Correction appended

Conditions weren’t ideal for the men’s tennis team as play began in Georgetown Saturday. It was colder than anticipated as players bounced on the court before the match against the Hoyas, trying to stay warm. The courts were wet, posing an unwelcome challenge.

But in the last regular match of the season for GW the team proved too focused to let inclement conditions rattle it on its way to a commanding 6-1 win over Georgetown.

“The mentality was a little different today because of the weather,” head coach Greg Munoz said. “It was cold, so it was hard to get going. After the first set, they started playing more aggressive.”

The Colonials (13-8, 6-0 Atlantic 10) quickly established their lead by sweeping the three doubles matches that opened play. Senior Christopher Kushma and sophomore Alexander van Gils earned the first victory of the day for GW, quickly defeating their Georgetown opponents 8-1. They were followed by the Colonials’ freshman duo, Viktor Svensson and Ulrik Thomsen, who posted an 8-3 match victory. Senior Erik Hannah and junior Ugur Atalay earned the third victory for GW, winning 8-4, and carrying the Colonials past the Hoyas for the doubles point.

“We were more worried about their doubles than their singles anyway,” Munoz said. “So I felt pretty good, very relaxed after the doubles. But with these conditions, momentum can change, and it did.”

Dropping the doubles point seemed to give Georgetown motivation heading into singles play, and they fought back in the first few singles matches, to go up by one . Atalay and Hannah fought back to win their matches in the next two sets, spurred on by shouts of encouragement and cheers from their teammates.

“Georgetown went up on the first four courts, that’s four points, [meaning] they [could] win the match,” Munoz said. “It was actually a good thing for us going into conference, because you can’t underestimate anyone or the conditions.”

Sunday’s scheduled match against James Madison was canceled, making the Georgetown match Saturday the Colonials’ final regular season play before heading to the Atlantic 10 Championships next weekend. GW will enter championship play undefeated in the conference, a promising sign for the team picked to finish first in the A-10 at the beginning of the season. After disappointing finishes the past three seasons, Munoz says the team is focused on the upcoming tournament, committed to a strong finish to its successful season.

“Today was good practice for us heading into the championship, because if we underestimate teams, things get tight, anything can happen,” Munoz said. “We gotta go into conference focused on getting that fourth point. Day one, move on. Day two, day three, not looking at the finish line, not looking at anything except getting that point. We have seniors that have been cut short three years in a row, so we know nothing will be handed to us.”

The Colonials will travel to St. Louis next weekend for the A-10 championship, with play scheduled to begin Friday and continue through the weekend.

This article was updated on April 11, 2011 to reflect the following:
Based on inaccurate information from a source, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that senior Christopher Kushma was down one match at the beginning of singles play to Georgetown before coming back to win the next two sets. Kushma won his singles match in straight sets.

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