Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Tag

Leah Pascarella

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

Despite an early lead, the women’s tennis team fell to No. 2-seeded Saint Louis 4-2 Saturday in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championships.

GW jumped ahead early in the match, winning the doubles point. The No. 1-positioned duo of senior Isabella Escobar and freshman Taylor Nederlander won 8-6, while the No. 2-positioned team of sophomore Christina Carpenter and senior Leah Pascarella also clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 victory.

Leah Pascarella hits an overhead shot earlier this season. | Hatchet File Photo

Leah Pascarella hits an overhead shot earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo.

But in singles, the Colonials were outplayed by a superior Saint Louis team that entered Saturday’s match on a 10-match winning streak.

Nederlander at No. 3 and Carpenter at No. 6 both lost their matches in straight sets, while Robins at No. 1 and Escobar at No. 5 dropped their matches in three sets. Only Pascarella at the No. 2 slot was able to defeat her opponent for the Colonials (3-6, 6-4, 6-4).

“We weren’t overconfident. We knew that we won the doubles point last time, too, and this was going to be another battle,” head coach Greg Munoz said. ”Saint Louis played well. We didn’t back down. It was a fight to the very end, and anything could have happened.”

It was a solid year for the program, which finishes the season 9-6 overall. Pascarella, who played her last match as a Colonial on Saturday, said this year’s team was the best she has played with since she joined the program in 2010.

“Out of my four years, we had the most talent on this team,” Pascarella said, adding that she expects the young returning Colonials team to improve.

GW will face a series of challenges heading into the next season. It will return seven players – and none will be seniors. Plus, Munoz said the team will likely have a demanding regular season schedule.

But sophomore Lana Robins said the Colonials can handle these tests.

“[We’ll have] a good freshman class, an improved returning sophomore class and our juniors are really gonna have to step it up and be leaders,” Robins said.

Munoz said the team is moving in the right direction as he tries to “change the culture of the program.” The Colonials have their sights set on a conference title, and Munoz said the program will continue to develop until it reaches that goal.

“Until we’re a top-75 [team], there is going to be improvements to make” Munoz said. “It starts with the culture and the work ethic and discipline.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

Leah Pascarella hits an overhead shot earlier this season. | Hatchet File Photo

Leah Pascarella hits an overhead shot earlier this season. Hatchet File Photo.

For the first time since 2011, the women’s tennis team is headed to the A-10 Championship semifinals after blanking No. 6 seeded Saint Joseph’s 4-0 Friday.

The Colonials jumped out to the early lead by securing the doubles point. The No. 1 GW doubles pair of senior Isabella Escobar and freshman Taylor Nederlander came back after trailing 2-1 early in the match to win the it 8-6. The No. 2 doubles team, with freshman Allison Hansen and sophomore Lana Robins, won their match handedly 8-2 to put GW ahead 1-0.

In singles play, Nederlander, who played in the No. 3 slot for the Colonials, defeated her opponent in straight sets (6-3, 6-2). Pascarella would follow suit in the No. 2 position, earning a straight-sets victory of her own (6-4, 6-3). Escobar would clinch the win for GW in the No. 5 position, defeating her opponent in three sets after she trailed early (3-6, 6-1, 6-1).

GW will face No. 2 Saint Louis at 1 p.m. in Saturday’s semifinal match. The Billikens defeated No. 7 Duquesne 4-0 to advance to Saturday’s match. When the two teams met in March, Saint Louis defeated GW in a close 4-3 match.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

The women’s tennis team defeated George Mason by the score of 6-1 Sunday, capping off the regular season and Senior Day with a celebration.

Leah Pascarella serves at a match on the Mount Vernon Campus last season. Hatchet File Photo

Leah Pascarella serves at a match on the Mount Vernon Campus last season. Hatchet File Photo

Senior Leah Pascarella paced the Colonials, who along with sophomore Christina Carpenter, secured an 8-3 doubles win to help the Colonials take the doubles point. She then went on to a seamless singles victory 6-0, 6-0, bringing her singles record 16-8 on the year and 10-3 in the spring.

“It feels great to have a senior day like this,” Pascarella said after the match. “I couldn’t have asked for much more.”

Also graduating was senior Isabella Escobar, who suffered a somewhat less satisfying afternoon, being defeated in singles 7-6, 6-4 and losing in doubles with freshman partner Taylor Nederlander, 8-4. The singles loss ends her regular season record at 2-7.

“It’s unfortunate that I didn’t win but I thought I fought hard,” Escobar said. “But still, GW has given me an amazing experience.”

Sophomore Lana Robins (6-1, 6-0), Nederlander (7-6, 6-3), sophomore Egle Jakuciunaite (6-2, 6-0) and Carpenter (6-1, 6-0) all won their singles matches in straight sets. The doubles duo of Robins and freshman Allison Hansen added the second GW doubles win, 8-3, giving the Colonials the early 1-0 lead.
Robins ended her season leading the team in singles victories, finishing with a record of 17-9.

The win brings the team’s overall record to 8-5, 5-2 in the conference. With the regular season now over, the team switches its view to the Atlantic 10 Championship in Mason, Ohio, set to begin Thursday, April 24. The Colonials will learn their tournament seeding tomorrow after all weekend matches conclude.

“I think we’re ready,” assistant coach Anthony Lee said. “We can always improve on things but we just need to compete and give 110 percent and we’ll do well.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Saturday, March 22, 2014 7:40 p.m.

Women’s tennis can’t keep up with VCU

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Bartnichak.

The women’s tennis team fell to VCU on the road Saturday at the Thalhimer Tennis Center in Richmond, Va., falling by the score of 7-0.

The Rams won all doubles matches to get the early point, and then swept GW in the individual matches. Freshman Taylor Nederlander – competing in the No. 3 spot – would win four games in her match, the most by any Colonial on the day.

The loss brings the Colonials overall record to 4-5 and 2-2 in the Atlantic 10. The Rams came in having lost two straight matches, while GW had won four of its last five, but VCU showed why it was picked to win the A-10 at the start of the season.

“Going into the match, we knew VCU was at a higher level than any team in the conference,” head coach Greg Munoz said. “But I was happy with the way we competed.”

Nederlander lost her match 6-4, 6-1, while senior Leah Pascarella – playing in the No. 1 position – was defeated by No. 72 Cindy Chala 6-1, 6-1. Sophomore Lana Robins lost her match 6-0, 6-3, playing in the No.2 slot.

“I enjoyed the way I competed, but I had a lot of frustrating points,” Robins said. “We just need to take advantage of the opportunities and those big points.”

Despite the defeat, both Munoz and his players saw the match as an opportunity to develop. Despite VCU being at a higher level than his team, Munoz recognized that the Rams are also at a higher level than every other team in the conference. In other words, after seeing how his girls played, the score might have come out different today against other A-10 foes.

“I thought that if the women compete like they did today, we’re going to win every match this year,” Munoz said.

The loss to VCU gives GW back-to-back A-10 losses, as they have not won a conference match since defeating Massachusetts and Fordham in the first week of March.

The team is back in play Sunday morning at 11 a.m. on the road against James Madison. The Colonials next conference matchup will be against Duquesne March 30 in Pittsburgh.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Esparza.

Coming into the 2014 spring season, the women’s tennis team was picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 – smashed in between Massachusetts at No. 3 and Fordham at No. 5.

With a 5-2 win against the Minutemen and a 4-1 win against the Rams this weekend, the Colonials showed that preseason votes are not going to decide their season’s fate.

Carrying momentum from its first win – a 6-1 performance against UMBC – GW looked like more than a conference contender this weekend.

In the conference opener against UMass, a combined effort from the doubles pairs of senior Isabella Escobar and freshman Taylor Nederlander, as well as freshman Grace Egger and sophomore Lana Robins, took care of the doubles point with 8-5 and 8-6 wins, respectively.

From this early spark, the team took control of the singles matches, grabbing 4 wins and 2 losses to secure the 5-2 win.

Even more exciting, for the team’s long-term hopes, was the return of sophomore Stephanie Wei after a three game hiatus due to injury. Wei and senior Leah Pascarella looked fresh in their doubles match, leading 7-5 before it went unfinished, but Wei would go on to lose her first singles match of the season, 3-6, 2-6.

With just Saturday to rest, the team traveled to face Fordham Sunday, in many ways repeating the same game plan they executed against the Minutemen.

The newfound strength in doubles continued as the duo of Robins and Egger again dominated in an 8-1 performance, while the team of Pascarella and Wei looked even more comfortable en route to an 8-2 win.

The Colonials finished singles play with three more victories, all of them coming in convincing straight sets. The most impressive: Egger’s perfect 6-0, 6-0 match in the No. 6 slot. Egger would be one of four Colonials to win both her singles matches on the weekend, along with Robins, Pascarella and Nederlander.

Explaining this dramatic turnaround, head coach Greg Munoz cited the recent “top form” Pascarella has shown for the team in competition, as well as the emotional lift that Wei’s return has brought to the lineup.

Despite the excitement from the weekend, it was not that long ago that this team was desperate for its first win. Munoz believes that the team’s new direction is setting them on the right path to accomplish their preseason goals of being a top three seed and making it to the A-10 finals.

Standing in the way are 16 more equally important regular season matches, with one date in particular – April 6 – standing out to the Colonials.

It’s not the start of the A-10 tournament, but instead, just a regular season matchup against conference-rival Richmond. To Munoz, who is still figuring out the women’s conference in his first year as head coach, he knows how much of a milestone a win against the Spiders would be.

“If we can show that we can beat Richmond that says a lot about the women’s program,” Munoz said.

GW was defeated by Richmond in the A-10 quarterfinals two seasons ago and lost to them 5-2 in a regular season match last year. Before VCU’s A-10 Championship win last season, the Spiders had won four consecutive conference titles.

To be successful against powerhouses like Richmond, GW will need the continued contributions and leadership from its only two upperclassmen: co-captain seniors Isabella Escobar and Leah Pascarella.

Additionally, the Colonials will need to continue their recent success in doubles play. Munoz, knowing the importance doubles has in setting the tone for each match, has transferred his strategy from the men’s team of focusing on the doubles point. The women have slowly adapted this style of play to the point that it has “become a real strength” Munoz declared.

Although their record (3-3) may not sound too intimidating, this women’s tennis team has already shown they can handle adversity, with the abrupt head coaching transition being almost unnoticeable. Don’t be surprised to find this team competing for a top spot in the conference standings and making noise come late April.

Next on the schedule is a back-to-back home stand against Saint Louis and Towson, March 10 and 11. They will be the first matches at the newly refurbished GW Tennis Center for either tennis team this season.

  • Permalink
  • Comments (2)

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Hassan Haider.

Despite wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, the women’s tennis team dropped to 0-2 Saturday afternoon, falling to Navy in a close 4-3 match.

Senior Leah Pascarella, an Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team selection last season, won in her No. 2 singles match, 2-6, 7-5 (10-4), while sophomore Lana Robins was victorious in the No. 1 singles slot, 6-2, 6-0. Ultimately, though, losses in two of the three doubles matches would do in the Colonials, as they couldn’t grab the vital doubles point.

Senior Leah Pascarella serves at a match on the Mount Vernon Campus last season. Hatchet File Photo

Leah Pascarella serves at a match on the Mount Vernon Campus last season. Hatchet File Photo

Taylor Nederlander also won at No. 4 singles, 6-4, 7-5, as did the duo of Grace Egger and Robins in the first doubles match, 6-1.

“I think the slower courts hurt us at No. 2 doubles,” head coach Greg Munoz said. “No. 3 we should have won, but an ankle injury from the Maryland match hurt our chances.”

Pascarella echoed her head coach saying, “the courts did not allow me to play the way I normally do. I had to really focus on being consistent in the second set to get the win.”

Despite starting the season with two losses, Munoz believes that the team is not in trouble.

“These were two tough matches and knowing that Richmond lost 5-0 to Maryland and Georgetown lost 4-3 to Navy shows we are not in bad shape,” Munoz said.

Moving forward, he believes the freshman will play a much larger role in strengthening the team, and made it clear that he will not hesitate to make adjustments to the team’s starting lineup.

“There will be some changes in the singles and doubles lines to give us a more competitive team.”

Looking ahead, the next match for the Colonials will be on Feb. 14 when they face Liberty at the Wheaton Indoor Tennis Center in Maryland.

“We have a already made a lot of progress from our first loss against Maryland two weeks ago,” Pascarella said, “so as long as we continue to work hard and in practice and keep our intensity up, we will be in a good place against Liberty.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Leah Pascarella was the Georgetown Classic singles winner this weekend. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ellee Watson.

With two lady Colonials making the finals, the women’s tennis team was guaranteed to come out of the Georgetown Classic this weekend with win a title

Senior Leah Pascarella reclaimed her singles’ title by beating her teammate sophomore Lana Robbins 6-4, 4-6, and 10-5 (in a tiebreak).

“That’s pretty much how it is in practice,” Pascarella said. “We go back and forth all the time. A tie-breaker is really a symbol of how we play because that’s how it would normally be in practice anyway.”

Interim head coach Greg Munoz was not surprised to have two GW women in the final of the tournament spread across three campuses – Georgetown, UVa., and the Mount Vernon Campus.

“They were are top two players last year, and they will be out top two players this year, for sure,” Munoz said.

After going 3-3 at their opening tournament, the Tiger Classic, three weeks ago, the Lady Colonials were warmed up and ready to take the Georgetown Classic. Six players made it into the singles’ Round of 16, three made it into the quarters, and two made it to the finals.

Pascarella took the level of play this weekend as a sign the team could do big things this season.

“It is my last season, and I want to make it my best yet, and this team looks really strong. Probably the strongest team in my four years,” Pascarella said. “So I really think we can do some damage in the conference and even higher than that.”

Also competing under head coach Munoz  this week was the men’s team, who opened up its fall season this weekend with separate tournaments – the Georgetown Classic and The UVA Ranked +1 Tournament.

At the Georgetown Classic, freshman Daniel O’Conner made his debut for the Colonials, earning one of only two GW singles’ win on Friday, winning his match 6-1, 6-2 over Norfolk State University’s Igor Braga.

O’Conner had a similar streak of success in the double tournament, making it all the way to the semi-finals with partner, senior Ulrik Thompsen, after defeating the duo from Christopher Newport 8-3.

“They made a good showing. We used to bring our top players to this tournament, and win every year,” Coach Munoz said, “Now we bring the 5th, 6th, and 7th positions, so making the [semi]final is a big achievement for them.”

The two nationally ranked Colonials, junior Francisco Dias and senior Nikita Fomin, represented GW at The UVA Ranked +1 Tournament and brought along their doubles partners – senior Victor Svensson and sophomore Danil Zelenkov, respectively.

Last year, Fomin won the Gold Singles championship and Dias reached the Orange Singles final before losing to the No. 2 player in the country. This go-round, GW would not fair so well.

Dias, who is ranked No.94 nationally, won his first match 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, but hurt his shoulder in his second and had to forfeit. It was a sign of the overall rough showing the men’s team had at the tournament this year.

Fomin, ranked No.70 heading into the season, lost his first match to North Carolina’s Brett Clark 3-6, 6-7, but bounced back in the back draw bracket to win his next match. Svensson followed suit, losing his first match in three sets, and then coming back to defeat Michigan’s Michael Zhu 7-5, 7-6. Zelenkov would lose both his matches during the tournament.

“It is a ranked tournament, so every match is tough. They did okay. They didn’t win all their matches, but they didn’t lose all of them either,” Coach Munoz said.

 

  • Permalink
  • Comments

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.

Junior Leah Pascarella served during a match played earlier this season. Pascarella and Lana Robins were named to the A-10 All-Conference teams Tuesday. Hatchet File Photo by Becky Crowder | Senior Staff Photographer

After a loss in the A-10 semifinals to UMass, the season may be over for the women’s tennis team, but some Colonials are still racking up honors off the court.

Junior Leah Pascarella and freshman Lana Robins were named to the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tennis All-Conference team Tuesday. Pascarella earned a first team bid, while Robins notched second team honors.

“We are very excited for Leah and Lana to receive All-Conference awards,” head coach Dawn Buth said in a release. “We are very proud of all of the hard work Leah has put in during her three years. Lana has also been a tremendous addition to our program as her work ethic and determination are second to none.”

Pascarella has now earned A-10 postseason honors for the third straight year, after being named a member of the second team after both her freshman and sophomore seasons.  Pascarella played No. 1 singles and doubles for the Colonials, finishing the season with a 15-14 singles record and a 7-7 doubles mark.

Pascarella was also named A-10 Co-Performer of the Week on Feb. 27, after her victory over UMBC helped lead GW to its fourth straight victory.

Robins enjoyed a strong debut season as a Colonial, where she posted a 15-11 record from the No. 2 singles position, and an 8-8 record, also from the No.2 doubles slot.  Her three straight doubles victories helped GW take home the Georgetown Fall Classic doubles title this fall.

Together, the pair compiled an overall record of 11-8 and a conference record of 4-1 at the Nos. 1 and 2 singles and doubles slots, respectively.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
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.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Sunday, March 31, 2013 7:49 p.m.

Women’s tennis team defeats Temple

Junior Leah Pascarella serves the ball Saturday afternoon during a match played on the Mount Vernon Campus. Becky Crowder | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Josh Solomon.

The Colonials were finally able to play an outdoor match at home, and it garnered some extra mojo for the team, which captured a victory over A-10 rival Temple for the first time since 2006.

GW (9-5, 3-1) earned a 5-2 victory against the Owls (8-6, 2-2) with aggressive play throughout all of its matches, winning two out of three doubles matches and four out of six singles matches.

“It’s terrific. It’s also another kind of feather in our belt in the A-10 conference so it’s just a nice confidence builder and it’s always great to play on our home court,” head coach Dawn Buth said. “That was just really exciting for us.”

Junior Leah Pascarella and senior Mimi Hamling played an aggressive game, winning their No. 1 doubles match 8-3. They used a strong rally game, as Pascarella blasted the ball past the Temple tandem while Hamling skillfully sliced the ball and used a drop shot to their advantage.

After finishing prior to the beginning of other doubles matches, they motivated their teammates, seeing an opportunity to win the round. The No. 3 matchup shortly ended as the freshmen duo of Christina Carpenter and Stephanie Wei dropped their match to an exhausting 9-7 score. But in the No. 2, senior Dorota Lysienia and freshman Lana Robins battled to win 8-6 to the crowd’s delight.

“We just really focused on bringing our energy level really high,” Buth said. “If you were to replay that match again, you would see our energy way outweigh Temple’s in the first few games, and it made a huge difference.”

In singles play,  Pascarella worked through a 7-5 first set, shouting in triumph on tough points and then cruised through a 6-1 second set as her opponent, junior Alicia Doms, seemed to tire out and became frustrated with her play, slamming her racket at the end of the match.

It turned out to be a clear victory for Pascarella – the first set was not easy, though.

“I knew that [high energy] was something I was going to need to do from the beginning. [Doms is] usually an aggressive player. Today she was staying more consistent. So I knew I was going to have to be the one to be aggressive,” Pascarella said.

Robins won her No. 2 singles match easily to a score of 6-2, 6-4. Meanwhile, Hamling’s No. 4 win secured the team victory as GW went on to watch Carpenter finish out the match and win in a tiebreaker 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (6-0), capitalizing on a good showing for the freshmen.

“They’ve been really terrific. Lana’s just been a super consistent performer. Just everyday she’s going to work her tail off and just fight,” Buth said. “Steph’s just a remarkable athlete and has really incredible potential and then Christy at the six spot, again, just fighting her tail off.”

The win over Temple meant a lot to senior Hamling, who said that it’s “very relieving” to finish her time in a Colonial uniform with a victory over the Owels.

Hamling said the victory also signified to the Colonials how important it would be to keep playing with the same intensity as they look forward to another home game against East Carolina, and one more A-10 match against Fordham, before the A-10 championship.

“Just keep it going. Just keep focusing on what I can control, being there for the team and putting all of my energy to everything I got, all of my matches,” Hamling said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments