After a series of tantalizingly close yet decisive losses, the Georgetown University men’s tennis team picked up its first Big East win of the season with a dominating 5-2 performance, 24 hours after losing 6-1 to St. John’s; meanwhile the women’s team continued its struggles, picking up two losses over the weekend.

The men’s team dropped its opening match to St. John’s, in a rematch of last year’s 4-3 upset win that sparked a 10-match winning streak. The Red Storm took command of the match after dropping the doubles point, dominating the Hoyas in the six singles matches.

The Hoyas took the loss in stride, and were determined to pick up their first Big East win of the season as they traveled to Connecticut to play the Huskies. Having won a bitter encounter last season, the Hoyas were eager to score the upset win in this rivalry. After securing the doubles point for a second straight day, the Hoyas were not going to let it slip away, as junior Dave Tillem, freshman Andrew Bruhn and senior captain Adam Gross all dominated their singles matches to seal a win for the Hoyas. Sophomore Tim Walsh added another point, winning his match 10-7 in a third-set tie-breaker.

Head Coach Gordie Ernst described this weekend as a learning experience.

“Tillem played very well,” Ernst said. “Playing at one or two every day is very tough, and you get nothing for free. He finally played a match where his opponent was making errors, and it gave him confidence and he rolled the guy.”

Tillem wasn’t the only player who improved from the weekend’s experience. “Walsh is learning how to win ugly,” Ernst said. “Like all young players he can get consumed in how he is playing rather than how do I beat my opponent, but against UConn it clicked. He learned how to win, even when he wasn’t at his best.”

Unfortunately, the women did not have as much success as the men, as they continue to struggle with consistency and injuries. The women are still lacking their number one player, freshman Michelle Brown, whose shoulder and arm injuries have kept her out of the lineup for over a month.

The women were able to count on consistent play from sophomore captain Alex Sebia, who won three of her four matches over the weekend, partnering with freshman Aileen Shea for doubles.

Sophomore Caroline Kuehn picked up a point for Georgetown against the Red Storm, rallying from a set and a break down to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Sophomore Maxi Thiels followed suit the next day, rallying from a set and a break down, to pick up a point versus the Huskies, winning, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Ultimately, the effort was not enough, as the Hoyas fell 5-2 on both days.

While injuries may be plaguing the team, Ernst cites youth as both their primary strength and weakness. “We have a very young team on the women’s side; they are learning what college tennis is about. Their youth is great because they are willing to put the work in, but hurts them when they get down; they don’t pull themselves out of holes.”

Ernst was particularly happy with Sebia’s play over the weekend. “Alex was back to being Alex,” Ernst said. “She is the best competitor I have on the team. She wins so many of her matches on grit and determination.”

The women play Towson at home on Wednesday while the men are in action on Friday at home versus Longwood.

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