The men’s tennis team opened the D.C. Metropolitan Championship Tournament on Thursday with a successful start, despite inclement weather at the end of the contest.

The tournament, in its 26th year, features all the top teams in the D.C. area. Extending through Monday, the competition’s men’s bracket began on Thursday, while the women’s bracket commences today.

Notable among the Hoyas’ matches was the performance of freshman Erik Bildman, who won his first match against George Washington’s Brett Warner, the first victory of his collegiate career, by scores of 6-3, 4-6 and 6-2. Also winning his match was senior Andre Benjamin, who blew away George Mason’s David Cornelius in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Following in suit, sophomore Mike Nelson whipped Catholic’s John Stevens, in straight sets as well, 6-0, 6-0. After being taken to a third set by UMBC opponent Albert Hardja, senior Ken Jordan rebounded from a second-set defeat, taking the deciding set and winning the match, 6-3, 6-7, 6-1.

As the first round drew to a close, a pesky drizzle developed into steady rain, forcing the suspension of all matches until Friday. In another strong rookie showing for the Hoyas, freshman Aaron Shumaker appeared to have his first victory in hand against UMBC’s Eric Nudo before the match was postponed.

“This tournament gives us some signals. If the team does well, it will instill a lot of confidence,” Head Coach Rich Bausch said. The D.C. tournament serves as a stepping-stone for future match-ups during the season. Georgetown will play the majority of its local tournament opponents in dual matches throughout the season. “The local dual matches will springboard to Big East matches, which count towards our qualifying for the Big East Conference Championship,” Coach Bausch added.

Though it is healthy and inspiring for the Hoyas to set their sights on Big East glory this early on in the season, the identity of the team is still developing, making realistic assessments about the team’s potential and strength difficult.

“It is still very early. We still have to set our lineup for the season,” Bausch said.

This tournament undoubtedly assists the coaching staff as an early-season indicator of the strengths and weaknesses of their teams as they form a lineup. The Hoyas will seek to continue their tournament success this afternoon and throughout the weekend at the cDonough tennis courts.

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