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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 10:26 a.m.

Men’s tennis secures top-75 ranking

Despite a loss in the Atlantic 10 Championship, the men’s tennis team ended the season with its best national finish in at least the last seven years, coming in at No. 73 in Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings announced Tuesday.

Freshman Danil Zelenkov hits a serve during practice earlier this season. Zelenkov and his teammates helped propel the Colonials to their first top-75 ranking under head coach Greg Munoz. Hatchet File Photo

The ranking comes after GW finished its season with a 17-7 record, defeated four top-75 opponents, and made it to its fourth- straight A-10 Championship match.

This is the first time that a Colonials squad has finished its season in the top 75 under head coach Greg Munoz.

The Colonials received their first national ranking of the year, No.50, back in February, after defeats of then-No.60 Georgia State and No.61 South Alabama in the same weekend.

In total, they faced nine nationally ranked opponents over the course of the season, going 4-5 in those matches. It was a step taken by Munoz to help his team gain the competitive attention needed to earn a national ranking – a choice that ultimately paid off.

By March, GW had moved up five more spots to the N0. 45 ranking, the highest-ever ranking garnered by a team  over Munoz’s seven years as head coach.

The Colonials ended their season with a loss in the A-10 finals to then-No.30 VCU, which was the lone conference foe to defeat the Colonials in the regular season.

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.

Freshman Danil Zelenkov practices his serve during practice earlier this season. The practice paid off as Zelenkov earned the Outstanding Rookie Performer Award. Hatchet File Photo

Five Colonials were awarded all-conference honors in men’s tennis this week – sweet news to help mask the sour taste after their one-point loss in the Atlantic 10 finals just nine days ago.

Freshman Danil Zelenkov was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Rookie Performer after making conference history in his debut season. Zelenkov won a record seven A-10 Rookie of the Week awards over the course of a season, and finished off the season by winning his last 10 No. 3 matches and his final eight No.2 doubles matches.

Junior Nikita Fomin, in his first season as a Colonial, earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team. He served as the other half of the No.2 doubles pair along with Zelenkov, and made an immediate impact as a transfer student this year.  Fomin played extremely well throughout the season from the No. 1 singles position, producing a team best 24-8 record and ending the season by winning nine of his final 10 matches.

Sophomore Francisco Dias joins Fomin on the All-Conference First Team, following up his freshman season in which he was named the Conference Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie Performer. Dias finished the season playing his best tennis with senior Leo Lapentti, who earned a  17-0 record as No. 3 doubles partners together.

Senior Alex van Gils will graduate from GW with conference honors for the third straight season. Van Gils was named to the All-Conference Second Team after being a member of the first team in 2012 and the second team in 2011.

Van Gils’ season-long doubles partner, junior Ulrik Thomsen, was also honored,  earning All-Academic honors due to his success in the classroom along with his prowess on the court. Van Gils and Thomsen finished the season with a 10-10 record from the No. 1 doubles position.

 

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.

It appeared almost too easy Saturday for the men’s tennis team.

The Colonials beat Charlotte 4-0 – the second match in a row in which they has failed to lose a point – setting the stage for a fourth straight appearance in the Atlantic 10 title game.

But if you look more closely at the sweep, head coach Greg Munoz said, GW gritted out a win.

Then-freshman Francisco Dias, shown here during the 2011 A-10 tournament. The Colonials will appear tomorrow in their fourth straight A-10 finals. | Hatchet File Photo

“It really wasn’t dominance. Several of the matches that were suspended after we clinched the victory could’ve gone either way and then it could have been a four to three match,” Munoz said. “You go through the tournament and there are different emotions and conditions on each day. You can’t look at the day before. Today we were the stronger and better team.”

The Colonials last defeated the 49ers two weeks ago, 5-1, showing similar strength as they did in today’s semifinal victory.

 The Colonials secured the doubles point after winning matches from the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles position. Junior Nikita Fomin and freshman Danil Zelenkov continued their winning streak from the No. 2 doubles position, winning 7-3 after their opponents elected to retire from the match.

Senior Leo Lapentti and sophomore Francisco Dias earned a quick 8-2 victory from the No. 3 doubles position, giving GW the early 1-0 lead.

The Colonials’ top two singles players set the tone early with their strong and aggressive play. Fomin won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, from the No. 1 singles position, while Dias also convincingly beat his No. 2 singles opponent in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

Junior Ulrik Thomsen would be the one to clinch the finals berth for GW, defeating his No. 5 singles opponent, 6-3, 6-4.

The win set ups a dramatic rematch Sunday against the only team in the conference to beat the Colonials: VCU.

Munoz said he sees the Rams as a more than formidable opponent, and acknowledged that VCU likely has similar views of GW.

“They are the number one seed and they earned it,” Munoz said. “I think we played at their level last time and it was very close. They probably underestimated us that time but they won’t now and they are going to be ready.  We will bring our best energy and bring our best on the court.”

 

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Friday, April 26, 2013 7:41 p.m.

Men’s tennis dominates in A-10 quarterfinals

The Colonials dominated from start to finish Friday, beating Richmond 5-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship.

Senior Alexander van Gils prepared to return a serve on Senior Day earlier this month. He won his No. 1 doubles match with junior Ulrik Thomsen on Friday to help the Colonials advance to the Atlantic 10 semifinals. Hatchet File Photo

Second-seeded GW, which earned a first-round bye in the tournament, had faced off against the Spiders earlier this season, winning 5-2. But the Colonials saved their best tennis for their second match, winning each of their singles matches in straight sets.

“It felt good today. We are focused and we feel like we are playing our best tennis of the spring,” head coach Greg Munoz said. “It’s tough playing as the higher seed when you are facing a team that you’ve played already this season. They have nothing to lose and will play aggressively. We stayed focused though.”

The Colonials easily secured the first point of the day – the doubles point – after winning all three matches. Junior Nikita Fomin and freshman Danil Zelenkov dominated from the No. 2 doubles position, winning 8-3.

Senior Alex van Gils and junior Ulrik Thomsen prevailed 8-4 in No. 1 doubles, while senior Leo Lapentti and sophomore Francisco Dias earned an 8-4 victory at No. 3 doubles.

“This is the best team we’ve ever put out. Every team we are potentially going to play is a team we’ve faced already,” Munoz said. “Those teams want a shot at us but we are a tough team to defeat. This is a mental game and we need to be prepared to give out best.”

The Colonials continued to dominate in singles. Dias won quickly from the No. 2 singles position, dominating in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2. Zelenkov also finished off his No. 3 singles opponent early in his first ever conference tournament, winning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Fomin earned the victory in No. 1 singles, winning, 6-3, 6-2, while junior Viktor Svensson closed out the match for the Colonials by winning, 6-4, 6-1, from the No. 6 position.

The Colonials will play third-seeded Charlotte in the semifinals as they continue to play for their third-straight A-10 title.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:50 a.m.

Zelenkov again named top A-10 rookie

Freshman Danil Zelenkov earned Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors this past week, after winning in both singles and doubles matches against conference rival VCU.

Courtesy of GW Athletics Communicationsa

Zelenkov prevailed in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 3 singles position, giving GW their only singles victory in a 4-2 loss against VCU. Zelenkov, while paired with junior Nikita Fomin at No. 2 doubles, won 8-5 to help GW earn the doubles point.

The award marks the fifth straight week now that the rookie has earned the honors, and sets a conference record as his seventh time this season. Zelenkov will enter the A-10 Championship this weekend with an eight-match winning streak in singles and a six-match winning streak at doubles.

The Colonials will try to win the A-10 for the third straight season.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013 12:56 p.m.

Season ends in A-10 semis for women’s tennis

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nora Princiotti.

The sixth-seeded Colonials rallied hard after falling behind 1-3, but the third-seeded Minutewomen ultimately closed the door on GW’s season, 4-2, Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Women’s Tennis Championship.

Junior Leah Pascarella serves the ball during a match played earlier this season. Pascarella was one of two Colonials to win her semifinals singles match. Hatchet File Photo by Becky Crowder | Senior Staff Photographer

After sweeping doubles play, Massachusetts held an early lead over GW. Now down 1-3, junior Leah Pascarella and freshman Lana Robins tried to start a Colonials’ comeback, each forcing extra sets after dropping the first set. Pascarella completed her comeback and defeated Sonia Bokhari 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Robins was going strong in her third set against Yuliana Motyl, leading by 5-0, but a UMass victory in the No. 4 spot, clinched a semifinals bid for the Minutewomen. GW’s only other point came by way of freshman Christina Carpenter’s 7-6, 6-2 victory over the Minutewomen’s Chantal Swiszcz in the No. 6 singles.

Despite the season-ending loss, head coach Dawn Buth was proud of her team’s perseverance.

“UMass is well-coached and has played consistently strong doubles this year, but our mental toughness in the singles nearly clinched the match for us,” Buth said.  “Christie and Leah dug down deep with wins at No.1 and No.6 while Lana was up 5-0 in the third set at the No. 2 position.”

The Colonials closed the season with an overall record of 11-8. GW is set to return six of this years players next year, losing only graduating seniors Mimi Hamling and Dorota Lysenia.

“I’m very proud of the way our team competed throughout the season and also the way they represented GW,” Buth said. “We are very proud of who this team is and what they have accomplished this year. We’re also very proud of our seniors, Mimi and Dorota, for their leadership and for all they’ve give to GW and to the team in their four years.”

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tennis, mimi, hamling

Senior Mimi Hamling reaches for a hit at a game against Saint John’s University last season. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nora Princiotti.

The women’s tennis team won when it counted in the first round of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championship, beating Saint Joseph’s 4-3 Thursday.

The sixth-seeded Colonials (11-7) eked out a narrow victory against the 11th-seeded Hawks (13-11) in a four-hour battle that came down to the No. 3 singles match.

With the match tied at 3 apiece, senior Mimi Hamling sealed the win for her team by beating Saint Joseph’s Devi Jadeja 6-4, 7-5. This is the second year in a row in which GW has eliminated Saint Joseph’s in the first round.

GW’s next task, a quarterfinal match against third-seeded Massachusetts, started Friday at 1 p.m.  The Minutewomen advanced with a decisive 5-0 sweep over 14th-seeded Dayton. GW last faced Massachusetts in 2008, when the Minutewomen came away with a 6-1 victory.

“The inches will matter today, so our ability to be disciplined in our percentages and shot selection combined with an aggressive mentality in the doubles will be key,” head coach Dawn Buth said.

Against the Hawks, the Colonials secured the doubles point and a 1-0 lead in the Nos. 2 and 3 matches.  GW’s second doubles tandem of senior Dorota Lysenia and freshman Lana Robins cruised to an 8-2 win over Kristina Eisenbrand and Lauren Roy, while the No. 3 freshman duo of Egle Jakuciunaite and Stephanie Wei fought their way to an 8-6 triumph over Jadeja and Kelly Mulquin.

Buth said the girls fed off of each other’s momentum in the win.

“Stephanie’s decisive match at No. 3 gave us immediate momentum. Christie’s win at No. 6 helped Mimi pull out the clinching match,” she said.

Wei rolled to a two-set win over Eisenbrand, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 3 singles, to stretch the Colonials’ lead to 2-0. Freshman Christina Carpenter made it 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Roy in the No. 6 match, and Hamling sealed the victory in her extra-set win over Jadeja.

A win over Massachusetts would send the Colonials to the semifinals of the A-10 championship for the first time since 2010.

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Courtesy of GW Athletics Communications

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sam Johnson.

This week, Francisco Dias and Danil Zelenkov captured the A-10’s Performer of the Week and Rookie Performer of the Week awards, respectively.

Dias and Zelenkov were both undefeated in singles and doubles matches last weekend, which propelled GW forward to a perfect 3-0 weekend.

This marks the first Performer of the Week nod for Dias this season, who garnered the title four individual times in 2012.

Zelenkov is on an eight-match single winning streak, with Dias not far behind, winning seven out of his last nine matches. He’s also win the rookie award for four straight weeks.

The Colonials fell in their final regular season match to VCU Tuesday.

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Correction appended

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nora Princiotti.

The seeds have been set for the 2013 A-10 women’s tennis championship, and the Colonials are ranked sixth overall.

They will play the 11 seed, Saint Joseph’s University in the first round Thursday at 6 p.m. GW faced SJU on Feb. 16th and came away with a 6-1 victory over the Rams.

A-10 newcomer VCU earned the No. 1 seed, followed by Xavier, Massachusetts, reigning champion Richmond, Charlotte, George Washington, Fordham, Saint Louis, Temple, Duquesne, Saint Joseph’s, Rhode Island,  Butler, Dayton, St. Bonaventure, and La Salle.

Quarterfinal matches take place Friday and semifinals follow on Saturday. The finals are scheduled for Sunday at 10 a.m.

The A-10 championship operates as a four-day, single-elimination format. The winner receives the conference’s automatic bid to play in the NCAA tournament.

The Colonials closed out their regular season 10-7, with a 4-1 record in-conference.

This post was updated April 17, 2013 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet originally reported the match against Saint Joseph’s time as 9 a.m. The Colonials will play Thursday at 6 p.m. 
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Courtesy of GW Athletics Communications

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sam Johnson.

Freshman Danil Zelenkov earned A-10 rookie of the week honors again this week, his third straight award and fifth this season. It’s the most weekly awards given to an A-10 freshman since 1999.

The announcement on Tuesday came after his outstanding weekend performance, where he helped the Colonials to a 2-0 weekend.  Zelenkov was undefeated in both No. 3 and No. 2 singles as No. 67 GW continued its winning streak with a 5-2 victory over St. John’s. He was also undefeated at Georgetown Sunday afternoon.

The freshman has maintained a 12-4 record on the season and, along with his team, is on a five-match singles winning streak.

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