Newly ranked women’s tennis to face Toledo, Illinois State

After splitting matches against two ranked opponents last week, the Marquette women's tennis team closes out a seven-game home stand this weekend against Toledo and Illinois State.

The Golden Eagles will sport something new at the matches — a No. 73 ranking.

Freshman Gillian Hush said the team is happy to get the recognition.

"We're all really excited about it," Hush said. "We haven't been ranked in a while, so we feel good about it."

The ranking is due in large part to Marquette's 4-3 upset of then-No. 42 Louisville Friday at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium. The team lost to the then-No. 61 Iowa.

In the loss to the Hawkeyes, Marquette squandered three-game leads in two singles matches. Coach Jody Bronson stressed the importance of playing consistently.

"We are young, and hopefully this will be a great learning experience for us," Bronson said. "We have got to understand that we are going to play the same from start to finish no matter what they're doing to us."

Bronson said improving doubles play would be a major objective for the team, which dropped the point in both matches last week.

In addition to doubles, Hush said the team has been practicing playing on the offensive.

"We worked more about being aggressive instead of sitting back," Hush said. "We want to play smarter all around."

The squad will try to continue a few individual streaks this weekend. Gillian Hush and sister Rachael won both of their matches at the No. 3 doubles slot to extend their record together to 4-2. Freshman Olga Fischer and senior Robin Metzler both won each of their singles matches against the ranked teams last weekend.

Metzler said her focus has been important to her success.

"I really try to focus on winning each and every point and not get distracted," she said.

The Golden Eagles face Toledo on Friday. The Rockets, led by coach Tracy Mauntler, are coming off consecutive losses to Purdue and Michigan State. Toledo is 4-3 on the season and 0-1 versus ranked opponents. Junior Martina Wondzinksi handles the No. 1 singles duties and is 4-3 this year.

Sunday, the team takes on the Illinois State. The Red Birds are 1-1 after defeating IUPUI 7-0 and losing to No. 36 Illinois 7-0. The team is led by junior Julia Zubkova of Tallin, Estonia, who was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Women's All-Select Team last year.

Marquette did not play either team in 2008 but defeated Illinois State in 2007.

While the team is excited about the ranking, Metzler said it shouldn't affect the way it plays on the court.

"I think we always have the same mindset," she said. "We're going to go in there and win as many matches as possible.

The Golden Eagles face Toledo at 5 p.m. on Friday and Illinois State at noon on Sunday at Helfaer Tennis Stadium.

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