There’s some unfinished business in the Big East. The season ended abruptly and on a disappointing note for the Marquette women’s tennis team last weekend. After topping Connecticut, 4-0, and advancing to face Syracuse, the Golden Eagles lost a hard-fought battle by just two points, 4-3.
The drive wasn’t over, and the team was set to face West Virginia in the consolation draw. Excited to come back with a vengeance, the Golden Eagles’ hopes were shattered when Big East officials announced the consolation draw would be canceled because of inclement weather conditions.
Play would only continue in the main draw to decide first and second place in conference.
“We talked about our match against Syracuse and how close we were, and we really wanted to go out on a high note,” coach Jody Bronson said. “We were very excited to play West Virginia in the next round, so I think we were really disappointed that we didn’t get the opportunity to do that and show our resilience.
“We were getting ready for that match to go out and make a statement.”
Bronson said her team proved itself this season, standing up against a difficult schedule all spring. The conference tournament posed a challenge for the Golden Eagles because injury plagued the team right up until the end.
“We put people in situations that were really tough for them,” Bronson said. “Losing our No. 1 doubles team and having to adjust to that — people rose to the occasion. They were elevating their performances.”
Junior Rachael Hush has missed the last couple of matches due to injury, which forced Bronson to reconfigure the lineup.
The Golden Eagles still managed to dominate doubles and performed well against ranked opponents.
“It’s just a tremendous credit to the girls on the team this year, what they were able to do, how they’ve stuck together and how they battled,” Bronson said.
Junior Christina Ruiz may have felt Hush’s injury the strongest, as their powerhouse doubles team had been on a solid win streak for most of the season.
Ruiz was last on the court in the match against Syracuse, forcing her No. 4 singles match to the third set but ultimately losing it 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5).
Ruiz said that despite the adversity the team faced in the days nearing the tournament, the Golden Eagles performed well.
“Our first match we had really great energy,” she said. “We came out and quickly took the doubles point and had two quick singles points. The next day, we knew it was going to be a big match. We have kind of a rivalry (with Syracuse).”
Ruiz said the match lasted about four hours, but they maintained intensity through the very end.
“We tried as hard as we could, and it came down to just two points,” Bronson said. “We were right there, but it didn’t fall our way at the end. I don’t feel like in any way that that was a failure.”
The Golden Eagles ended the season 13-14, with a 9-1 record at home.
“I think the team succeeded this year because they were able to overcome the adversity and a lot of the things that were thrown their way,” Bronson said.
Assistant coach Katie Potts finished her first season with the Golden Eagles with high hopes for next year.
“We didn’t get that win against Syracuse, but they fought so hard that whole match and the whole season,” she said. “I think if they continue to work hard this summer and in the fall, we’re going to see a lot of victories in the spring season.”