The Georgetown men’s tennis team split their two matches this weekend, falling to Big East foe St. John’s, 5-2, on Friday but bouncing back against another league rival, Villanova, in another 5-2 win on Saturday afternoon.
The victory closed the Hoyas’ regular season on a stellar note, with the team finishing 14-7 overall and 2-1 in conference. Pocketing the win, Georgetown now turns its sights to the Big East tournament this weekend in sunny south Florida.
Against the Red Storm (16-7, 3-0 Big East), the No. 3 pairing of junior Charlie Caris and sophomore Casey Distaso won a tightly contested battle, 9-8, 7-4, in doubles play. But the Johnnies, ranked No. 57 in the nation, took the first point of the match with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.
“We knew St. John’s was ranked, so we knew it was going to be tough,” Assistant Coach and former women’s captain Stephanie Wetmore (GRD ’11) said. “But we had two tie breakers at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles, so we had a lot of hope going into singles.”
In that optimistic spirit senior Andrew Bruhn got a measure of revenge for his loss at No. 1 doubles to St. John’s senior Milo Hauk and junior Vasko Mladenov when he beat the No. 66-ranked Mladenov in No. 1 singles, in a three-set slugfest, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. In the No. 2 singles spot, Caris defeated Hauk by a score of 6-2, 6-4 helping the Blue and Gray claw their way back into the match.
“Bruhn and Caris showed that we can compete with top players,” Wetmore said. “It really showed that we are ready for the Big East Tournament.”
But aside from Bruhn and Caris, Georgetown could not sustain their surge in the other singles matches and went on to fall to St. John’s, 4-2.
The Hoyas did not have time to hang their heads after Friday’s defeat, however, because they had a quick turnaround before they took on another Big East rival, Villanova, in the final home match of the seniors’ careers.
Things looked up for the Blue and Gray on Saturday, when senior partners Bruhn and Brian Ward won by a score of 8-1 at No. 1 doubles while Caris and fellow senior Rafael Notario picked up the win at No. 3 doubles, also 8-1.
“This has been … Ward’s best year,” Wetmore said of the Minnesota native. “And [Notario] did great against Villanova. We are really going to miss our seniors. It is sad to see them leave, because they have been such a huge part of this team.”
Bruhn, also, has been an integral part of Georgetown’s success in the last four years. Named team MVP his sophomore season, Bruhn has improved from there, with his improvement capped off with a spectacular run to the finals of the Georgetown Classic during the fall season.
“Andrew is really leading the team,” Wetmore said. “His win-loss record is unbelievable. He played the best match of his career on Friday and then came back Saturday to win again.”
Bruhn provided one of the Hoyas’ singles wins against the Villanova Wildcats with his 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory in his usual No. 1 position. Caris, freshman Shane Korber and Distaso also picked up wins in their singles matches to help the Hoyas seal the 4-2 victory.
With the regular season coming to an end, the Hoyas next look to the Big East tournament. Having won six of their last seven matches, the Hoyas are optimistic about their prospects in the tournament.
“This is the best season, with the most wins, since [Head Coach] Gordie Ernst has been here,” Wetmore said. “We are not surprised by that, [but] we are [certainly] happy. We know we have some realistic goals we can attain in the Big East [championships].”
Georgetown will begin the Big East tournament Friday at 9 a.m against Louisville. This year’s tournament is being held in Tampa, Fla.