The Georgetown men’s tennis team traveled north this weekend to open Big East play at St. John’s and Connecticut. The Hoyas were thrashed 7-0 by the No. 69 Red Storm but rallied on Sunday to defeat the Huskies 4-3 and notch their sixth win of the year. Georgetown’s record now stands at 6-8 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Saturday’s match against St. John’s began with the Blue and Gray dropping the precious doubles point. Juniors Michael Clarke and Andrew Bruhn lost first doubles by a score of 8-2. Although the second doubles team of sophomore Charlie Caris and senior Bryan Miller put up more of a fight, they came up short in a close 8-6 loss. The losses at first and second doubles rendered the third doubles match meaningless on the scoresheet, but freshman Casey Distaso and junior Brian Ward salvaged some pride for the Hoyas with an 8-6 victory of their own.

“Doubles play was close,” Head Coach Gordie Ernst lamented. “We stepped up and should have won [that point].”

The Red Storm took little time building upon their 1-0 lead in singles competition. No. 1 Clarke and No. 5 Distaso were quickly defeated 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-2, respectively. Ward lost in a similar fashion at No. 4, falling by a score of 6-2, 6-1.

The No. 2, 3 and 6 singles matches were closer. At No. 6, freshman Alex Friedlich battled in a tough 6-4 first-set loss before fading a bit in the 6-2 second set. At second singles Caris lost a tough 7-5, 7-5 decision while Bruhn dropped a 7-5, 6-4 match at No. 3.

“Andrew Bruhn played very well,” Ernst said. “But we knew St. John’s was a strong team coming into the match. They have beaten five Ivy League teams this year, including Columbia, who was last year’s Ivy League Champion.”

Although his players were disheartened by Saturday’s crushing defeat, Ernst noted how quickly they were able to get over the loss and turn their full attention to Sunday’s match against Connecticut.

“It is always tight against UConn,” Ernst said. “We had pressure coming into the match because we knew it would come down to the wire. It was a heated match.”

At No. 1 doubles, Clarke and Bruhn battled to pick up an 8-3 win. Although Distaso and Ward fell at No. 3 by a score of 8-5, Miller and Caris secured the doubles point for the Blue and Gray with an 8-4 victory at No. 2.

With the 1-0 lead, Clarke kicked off singles competition with a close win at No. 1. The first set came down to a tiebreaker, which Clarke won 7-5. The second set was not quite as close, as Clarke sealed the match with a 7-5 second-set win.

“Mikey Clarke is so talented. It just depends what intensity he brings to the court,” Ernst said. “He played the big point well [against UConn] and was the best player on the court in doubles.”

Playing at third singles, Bruhn picked up the next point for the Hoyas with a 6-4, 7-5 win, while Friedlich fell 6-2, 6-0 at No. 6.

Caris and Distaso were defeated at the No. 2 and 5 spots, respectively. However, Miller’s 7-6, 6-1 win at fourth singles was enough to give Georgetown the 4-3 edge over Connecticut.

Ernst was proud of his veterans for pulling out the team’s first Big East win of the season.

“Bruhn, Clarke and Miller stepped up their game at the right time,” Ernst said. “They are older so they know what [the Big East] is all about.”

The Hoyas face Morgan State next, at home on March 30.

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