Coming in with renewed confidence, the Georgetown men’s tennis team improved to 3-1 on the season Saturday with a 4-1 win over Richmond at Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, Va.

“The guys worked really hard going in. That hard work led to confidence,” Assistant Coach Matthew Brooklyn said.

That confidence was jumpstarted in the first match, with junior Charlie Caris and senior Andrew Bruhn quickly picking up the Hoyas’ first win of the day at No. 1 doubles by a score of 8-4.

“Bruhn and Caris came out and took the match to the opponent. They had great energy that trickled down to the rest of the team,” Brooklyn said. “When your No. 1 wins quickly, that helps a lot.”

The doubles pairing of sophomore Casey Distaso and senior Brian Ward continued the Hoyas’ momentum. They registered an 8-3 victory at No. 3 doubles.

“No. 1 and 3 doubles won very comfortably, and that set the tone for the rest of the competition,” Brooklyn added.

Brooklyn attributes Georgetown’s solid 3-1 early record to their dedication and commitment to improvement.

“All nine guys on the team really work hard,” Brooklyn said. “In the fall, they really worked to improve and bought into what we are trying to do.”

Head Coach Gordie Ernst also sees positive change in his team this year.

“The difference between our team this year and last year can be attributed to Matt [Brooklyn],” Ernst said. “He came in and did not want to tiptoe around. With his UCLA experience, he immediately asserted himself and put together practice drills and conditioning that made the guys better.”

Ernst believes his other assistant — former Georgetown women’s tennis player Stephanie Wetmore — has also had something to do with the men’s early season success.

“Matt and Steph come from the same high level, and the kids get that. They have brought with them the professionalism that you need to get better,” Ernst said.

But it isn’t just on his coaching staff where Ernst sees substantial improvement.

“Before, the kids just wanted to get the uniform and were happy to just play. Now, these guys want to get better,” Ernst said.

By cutting out players that just went through the motions, Ernst has worked to get rid of what he calls the “dead weight” on the team.

“It’s been addition by subtraction. Unless you give 100 percent of your effort, you are not going to win,” Ernst said. “It is sometimes like a street fight. You look across the net and say ‘I’m taking you down.'”

The Blue and Gray will have to keep up that fighting spirit if they hope to post a winning record for the season. The team’s next battle will come against Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., on Feb. 12.

“Mary Washington will be a good warm-up for the men after two weeks off before we play Penn [on Feb. 15 in Philadelphia],” Brooklyn said.

“We should beat teams like Richmond and Mary Washington,” Ernst said. “Our goal is to beat the higher-level teams like William and Mary and Penn. To be a good team, you have to beat the good teams.”

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