When the Colonials walked away from the court Friday with a 6-1 victory over Georgetown, they ensured the continuation of two victory streaks.
The defending Atlantic 10 champions announced their return to their home court in a commanding fashion Friday, extending GW’s win streak to six straight matches.
Senior Ugur Atalay extended his personal streak at No. 2 singles to seven matches, and paired with freshman Francisco Dias to form GW’s No. 1 doubles pairing. The two easily took down their Georgetown doubles opponents 8-4. Sophomore Ulrik Thomsen and junior Alexander van Gils also had an impressive showing in their doubles match, earning a decisive 8-2 victory.
“I’m playing my best tennis. I always try to play one match at a time but it’s hard to ignore that I’m on a win streak,” Atalay said. “I try not to think about it but sometimes I just do. It’s a lot of pressure but it more motivates me to be successful.”
The Colonials (9-6) were denied an opportunity to further extend their win streak over the weekend due to heavy rain postponing two matches, but head coach Greg Munoz sees the postponed matches as a blessing for a team dealing with early season injuries.
“Friday’s match was our first with our lineup at full strength,” Munoz said. “This is a good opportunity to get some needed rest and get healthy. Next weekend is all conference games so we will need to be ready.”
Health is vital for GW if it wants to repeat as Atlantic 10 conference champions. Last season, the Colonials thrived due to a deep lineup that made it easy for Munoz to fill in roster spots of injured players.
This year’s squad only carries eight men, so any significant injury would hurt GW’s chances of competing in Atlantic 10 play. And while GW remains a talented squad, other schools in the Atlantic 10 conference have significantly improved since last season.
“We know that getting a good seed for the A-10 tournament is important, but we earned the No. 1 seed the last four seasons and we only won the tournament last season,” Munoz said. “We think that we have what it takes, but right now we are focusing on tough opponents in our conference play. That’s where we want to peak, in conference play.”
Munoz is especially impressed by Dias’ the improved performance – the team’s No. 1 singles player. The freshman earned a No. 80 ranking in the most current Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. For Atalay, his partner’s success is an indication of the bright future ahead of the program.
“It makes me feel good that we have young players like Francisco because it means that the future is bright for GW tennis,” Atalay said.
The Colonials realize that the most difficult part of their season is yet to come. Conference play is important for seeding in the A-10 tournament, and GW’s goal is to win the tournament and advance to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.
The Colonials will continue play Friday, March 30, when they host Atlantic 10 foe Richmond.