The Colonials picked up a non-conference victory during their final home match of the season Saturday, in a final tune-up before the team hits the road for five straight games and then the Atlantic 10 championship.
No. 68 GW (12-5, 3-0 A-10) prevailed 5-2 against St. John’s to finish undefeated in home matches this season. Saturday’s match against the Red Storm also served as senior day for two members of GW’s roster.
Leonardo Lapentti and Alexander van Gils were honored at the match, but while they both won their respective doubles matches, both fell in singles play. Despite their individual losses against St. John’s, head coach Greg Munoz was quick to attribute his team’s season of success to the pair’s on-court prowess and off-the-court leadership.
“Leo has a quiet demeanor. He brings professionalism, and that hopefully feeds the younger players and they can learn from that and know to be prepared,” Munoz said. “Alex has been a leader from the start. He can get guys to calm down. He pays attention to detail, and through communication he is able to keep the team together.”
Junior Nikita Fomin prevailed in No. 1 singles, winning 7-6, 6-1, and sophomore Francisco Dias won at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1.
But No. 1 doubles was the most contested and riveting match of the day. Van Gils and junior Ulrik Thomsen earned a crucial 8-6 victory, which clinched the doubles point for the Colonials and allowed Fomin and freshman Danil Zelenkov to suspend their doubles play and prepare for singles.
Munoz continuously urges his squad to be vocal and energetic. He wants every member of the team to both provide support for their teammates and feed off of the support given to them. Every “Lets Go G-Dub” chant is followed by more chanting and yelling, positive reinforcement that helps the team focus on earning a team victory.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if you win. What matters is that the team wins. The team win is everything for us,” van Gils said. “We win or lose as a team, and it’s great to see the other guys getting the win for us today. It makes it a real group effort.”
GW closed the weekend of play against local rival Georgetown.
Georgetown entered play Sunday with an eight-match win streak and an undefeated record at home. But the Colonials, riding high on the senior day victory, ended Georgetown’s streak, rolling to a convincing 6-1 win.
The Hoyas took the doubles point, but GW swept singles play to earn its fifth straight victory.
“Playing on the road before A-10 [matches] is some of the best practice that we can get because we don’t get to play A-10 matches at home. We gain experience playing in front of crowds that aren’t cheering for us,” Munoz said.
GW finishes its regular season with three matches in three days before its final match against new Atlantic 10 member and No. 24 VCU.
“Having VCU as a new member provides us with a great challenge, and we have three matches in a row coming up and that’s really important,” Lapentti said. “At A-10’s, it’s all about coming out and being able to play everyday and playing at a 100 percent level each time.”