Marquette athletics has had a strong international contingent for many years, with players coming from three continents and 10 countries outside of the United States. But two men’s tennis players in particular from south of the border will look to help Marquette clam its eighth straight victory — the most consecutive wins since 2006.
Freshman Jose Carlos Gutierrez Crowley from Queretaro, Mexico and junior Jose Manuel Munoz from Mexico City have been instrumental in this season’s success.
Crowley is 13-6 overall and 5-0 in singles duals, with two of the wins coming in the No. 2 position. Currently he is on a six-match win streak and is 9-1 in his last 10 matches. He is also 11-8 in his doubles play overall.
In Mexico Crowley claimed national championships in singles on five occasions and in doubles on ten occasions. He was ranked as high as second in Mexico, trailing only a top-10 player internationally. In 2005 and 2006, he was a member of the Federacion Mexicana De Tenis team. When it comes to the play in Mexico versus the United States, Crowley was quick to point out the differences.
“The level is better (in the United States),” he said. “The pace is a lot faster. … I have been adjusting my serves and volleys a lot. It was difficult to get in shape at first.”
But he said it was always his dream to come play in the United States.
In Mexico, Munoz was a national champion, ranked as high as fifth and as high as 350 ITF. For Munoz, the biggest adjustment was learning to play as a team in the college game versus playing as an individual.
“College you can’t even compare,” Munoz said. “It’s a higher level. There are a lot more schools and a lot more players. But you get better from playing against different players with different styles from all over the world. … You play for a team now.”
So far this season, Munoz is 7-6 overall and is 3-0 in singles matches. He said at times he feels like he represents Mexico when he’s on the court.
“My family follows my results (in Mexico),” Munoz said. “First comes Marquette, but when I go home they relate to what Mexico is doing in the U.S.”
Assistant coach Erick Martinez — who is also from Mexico and knows what it is like to assimilate to a new country — is happy with the progress with the Mexicans and with the team.
“It’s not easy to adjust to a different language and Milwaukee … because you have to deal with the weather and then there’s the school,” Martinez said. “But they have been adapting smoothly, which is good to see.”
The Golden Eagles will play three matchups in two days starting on Saturday against Big East rivals Villanova in the morning and then Missouri-Kansas City later in the afternoon. On Sunday, the Golden Eagles take on Cleveland State.