It’s September, and the season for both the men and women’s tennis programs is almost in full swing. Both teams recently set their rosters, and the men’s program is now preparing for the Princeton Farnsworth Invitational, which will run today through Sunday. The women, meanwhile, are readying for the Mary Washington Tournament, which will also be this weekend.
At the tournament, the team will compete against many of the top programs in the country, including squads from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Though these are individual tournaments, the entire team will benefit from the season’s first exposure to competition.
“The biggest challenge is getting everybody mentally there and if they’re competitive, showing that they can hang with guys,” said men’s captain and senior Charlie Caris.
Last season the men and women’s teams finished seventh and fifth in the Big East, respectively and each had a player given All-Big East honors, the first time this has happened under coach Gordie Ernst.
The men’s program this year is young, with Caris and juniors Casey Distazo and Andy Dottino the only upperclassmen. “As a team we have a lot of young kids.” said Caris of the new squad, “I think our biggest challenge is trying to make sure that they are able to get a lot of match experience and reach that next level of maturity. That is my goal for them.”
For Caris, the mental game is a point of heavy emphasis in the upcoming season.
“Personally, my mental game is what needs to get in order. The physical side doesn’t really leave you that much,” he noted. “It’s about getting myself, and more importantly, the rest of the guys into that competitive mode that they may not have been in for the majority of the summer.”
The women’s team, led by senior captain Vicky Sekely, is equally youthful. The team laments the loss of past players, but Sekely has high expectations for the season: “Our biggest challenge will probably be dealing with the loss of our past players, coming out on top, keeping that competitive spirit that we’ve grown, and winning all of our Big East matches, which will be difficult, but it is doable.”
The women’s team is looking for good match experience before hosting the Georgetown Classic on September 21st and 22nd.
As for the season as a whole, Caris said, “I think one thing that’s always a goal of mine is to make every match be competitive. Not ever lose a match really badly where everybody’s not focused. Have everybody show up ready to play for every single match.”
Photo: Georgetown Sports Information