Both the Georgetown men’s and women’s tennis teams bowed out of the Big East tournament in the quarterfinals this weekend, as the No. 7-seeded men’s squad fell Friday to No. 2 Louisville and the No. 4 women’s team fell to No. 5 DePaul Saturday.
Each team had a consolation game scheduled against Marquette, but both were cancelled due to the inclement weather in Tampa, Fla.
“We had heavy rain Saturday,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst said. “They just cancelled everything. When you get bad weather, all they think about is the main draw. It’s very unfortunate.”
Andrew Bruhn and Brian Ward led their No. 1 doubles match at first, but they eventually fell when Louisville clinched the point. Overall, the Hoyas — who finished the season with a 14-8 record overall — lost in doubles to the reigning Big East champion Cardinals.
At No. 2 doubles, freshman Alex Tropiano and sophomore partner Andrew Dottino were defeated by a score of 8-2, while sophomore Casey Distaso and junior partner Charlie Caris lost, 8-5, at No. 3.
In singles play, only the No. 5, 4 and 1 matches were finished, with Louisville picking up the win in each. Bruhn fell, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1, freshman Shane Korber lost 6-2, 6-1 at No. 4 and Ward was defeated 6-2, 6-3 at No. 5.
But despite their being swept, Ernst was proud of his team and their effort against Louisville, who was the eventual tournament champion.
“I didn’t realize Louisville was going to be that good,” Ernst said. “This is the most competitive I have ever seen them. They are very tough and were just better at every position.”
Despite the early exits, Ernst sees how much the men’s program has grown over the years.
“Teams don’t take us as lightly as they did in the past,” Ernst said. “This is the best record we’ve had since my second year coaching here. We had a drop for three years, but now we have guys [who] may not be as talented but are the hardest working.”
That consistent hard work paid off throughout the season.
“We had some really good wins this year against teams like Old Dominion, Navy, Temple and Richmond,” Ernst said. “The issue is really the Big East conference. It is a really tough conference.”
Although this marks the end of the careers of talented seniors like Bruhn and Ward, the coach is confident in next year’s team.
“We are going to need people like Charlie [Caris] to step up and play at the No. 1 spot,” Ernst said. “Bruhn did a great job seizing the opportunity and relishing it. Charlie has been passive about it, but now he has to want to be the guy at No. 1.”
Ernst also expects new Hoyas to make an impact.
“We have a couple of pretty good freshmen coming in,” Ernst said. “We will only have two seniors, so we are going to be a young team.”
Meanwhile, the women, who finished the year with a 16-6 record, dropped a tight contest to DePaul. Georgetown picked up only one win in doubles play, when sophomore Tina Tehrani and junior Vicky Sekely dropped their opponents 8-2. But the Blue Demons took the other two matches and picked up the first point early on.
Singles play was much more evenly matched, though it appeared that the Blue Demons would secure the match early. DePaul extended their lead by putting away sophomore Kelly Comolli, 6-3, 6-4 and defeating sophomore Madeline Jaeger, 6-2, 7-5.
The Hoyas tied the score at three after Tehrani closed out her opponent, 6-2, 6-3, and Sekely won by the same score. Then freshman Sophie Panarese battled back to win her match, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
And so the season rested on the shoulders of senior Lauren Greco, who was pitted against freshman Jasmin Kling. After dropping the first set, 6-4, Greco won the second, 6-3 and forced the third and final set. Kling then pulled away and won, 6-2, sending DePaul to the semifinals to face No. 1 Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish were able to do what Georgetown was not, defeating the Blue Demons and ultimately winning the entire tournament.
Despite the early exits, Ernst is confident that the program will continue to improve.
“There is no reason why we can’t have a similar year [to] this year and knock out some pretty good teams,” Ernst said. “The commitment needs to be there this summer.”