Coming off an encouraging 2-1 result at the Margaux Powers Memorial Tournament in Providence, R.I., the Georgetown University men’s tennis team is set to make the short trip east to Annapolis, Md., this weekend to participate in the Navy Gold Invitational.
The tournament, set up in a “hidden duel” format, has the Hoyas taking on a different squad each day in both singles and doubles play.
Joining Georgetown at the tournament will be hosts Navy, UMBC and George Washington. Due to their simultaneous participation in the ITA/D’Novo All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. ,George Washington will bring a split team in conjunction with Morgan State.
First up on Georgetown’s schedule for the event is the combined George Washington/Morgan State side, with whom they’ll face off beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday. The Blue and Gray will be looking for a measure of revenge from the reigning Patriot League champions, the Colonials, who swept the top five singles matches in the teams’ Navy Invitational matchup last year.
Saturday’s action will feature a bout between Georgetown and UMBC — last year’s America East runners-up — beginning at the later 2 p.m. time slot. The Blue and Gray will wrap up their weekend against Navy Sunday at 2 p.m.
While the tennis championship season begins in earnest in January, Head Coach Gordie Ernst made it clear that these fall tournaments are not taken lightly, especially considering the nature of the Hoyas’ opponents.
“These don’t count, but they have a sort of pride, a ‘local rival’ significance, so [in that sense] they do count,” said Ernst. “And in a tennis player’s mind, every match counts.”
This mentality has been plainly evident in the team’s play this fall, as the Hoyas have posted gutsy performances in the two tournaments in which they’ve played thus far.
Senior Andrew Bruhn turned heads in reaching the singles finals of the Georgetown Classic, held Sept. 24th and 25th in rainy conditions. To get to the Georgetown Classic’s championship match, Bruhn first had to get past promising freshman teammate Shane Korber in the semis. The California native gave his captain quite the match before eventually falling 6-3, 3-6, 10-4.
Playing on their home court, the Hoyas likewise excelled in doubles, as all four pairs made it to the third round of play. The tandem of sophomore Casey Distaso and senior Brian Ward made it the farthest out of the GU duos, bowing out in the semifinals.
At the Margaux Powers Memorial Tournament, held by Brown University from Sept. 30th to Oct. 2nd, the Georgetown men saw similarly good results. They dropped only one of their three matchups, downing Stony Brook 7-6 and sweeping doubles play in defeating Boston College 7-2.
Perhaps what has stood out the most this season, though, has been the promise shown by the team’s underclassmen.
Sophomore Andrew Dottino, who Ernst called the “MVP of the weekend” for his play in Providence, has been outstanding. Distaso, Korber and freshman Alex Tropiano have all also played roles far exceeding those of typical underclassmen.
“I think the most important thing is that they all share a love of the game. They’re all very good kids, so they just have that freshman enthusiasm,” Ernst said. “They have sort of that quintessential freshman ‘thing.’ They want to get better, they want to learn.”
The freshmen, along with the rest of the GU men’s tennis team, will get another chance to do just that starting on Friday at the Navy Gold Invitational.