RICHMOND, Va. – Coming off yet another 20 win season and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Virginia Commonwealth wanted to start the 2011 campaign off on the right track when it opened the annual 4-1 Invitational, hosted by the Rams at the Thalhimer Tennis Center.

The Black & Gold did just that, gutting out a 3-2 victory over a feisty Georgetown team and following it up with a 5-0 rout of Howard University.

"It was a good first day for our girls," Head Coach Paul Kostin said. "We got a gut check by a good Georgetown team that really fought hard and challenged us in a match that could have gone either way. I'm happy with the way we were able to stick with it and get two wins, it definitely beats the alternative."

The freshmen duo of Daria Yakavleva and Olga Terteac started the day off strong for VCU with a 6-4, 6-0 doubles win over the Hoyas' Alex Sebia and Madeline Jaeger.

Georgetown would bounce back with their top player, Stephanie Wetmore, grinding out a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Ana Bara and Tina Tehranl taking a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4 decision of Isabel Fernandez at the fourth position.

However, the middle of the Rams lineup would secure the 3-2 win as sophomore Josefin Hjertquist battled to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Lauren Greco and Alex Bara swept to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Victoria Sekley.

"Of course you want ever match to a be a 5-0 win, but that's not what happened," Kostin said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but a win is a win."

The Rams would focus in for their second match with five straight set victories over the Bison. Hjertquist and Ana Bara teamed up in doubles for a 6-1, 6-1 win over Howard's Alyssa Works and Ashley Moore.

Senior Kateryna Yergina kept VCU going with a 6-0, 6-2 over Michelle Brown at the top position. In the first singles matches of their careers Yakavleva and Terteac both swept their opposition.

Sophomore Manuela Pieztuch moved to 7-0 in her Black & Gold career with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Brooke Hawthorne in the fourth spot.

The Rams return to action with one match during Saturday's 4-1 action with a 10 a.m. showdown with the Penn Quakers.

VCU 3, Georgetown 2

Yakavleva/Terteac d. Alex Sebia/Madeline Jaeger, 6-4, 6-0
Stephanie Wetmore (GU) d. Ana Bara, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Hjertquist d. Lauren Greco, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Alex Bara d. Victoria Sekley, 6-1, 6-2
Tina Tehrni d. Fernandez, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4

VCU 5, Howard 0

Hjertquist/Ana Bara d. Alyssa Works/Ashley Moore, 6-1, 6-1
Yergina d. Michelle Brown, 6-0, 6-2
Terteac d. Brittney Morgan, 6-2, 6-0
Yakavleva d. Katelyn Stokes, 6-4, 6-4
Pieztuch d. Brooke Hawthorne, 6-0, 6-1