MU drops Connecticut, Louisville in conference tournament

The Marquette women's tennis team had a strong showing at the Big East Championship tournament last week. Photo by Steph Waterman / stephanie.waterman@marquette.edu

The women’s tennis team ended its 19-11 season on both a high and low note this weekend at the Big East Championship tournament. The Golden Eagles defeated Louisville, who they had lost 4-3 to on March 26, and advanced to lose to No. 1 seed and eventual champion Notre Dame (16-9).

They finished the weekend in fourth place after a consolation round loss to DePaul (15-11).

“It was the seniors’ best finish,” coach Jody Bronson said. “I am very proud of this team.”

Weather conditions prevented the opening matches to be played outdoors which was an advantage for the team, according to senior Rachael Hush. Starting off the tournament in singles matches against 12th-seeded Connecticut (7-13), Marquette won the opening round 4-0.

The Golden Eagles advanced to face No. 4 Louisville (11-13), where they showed their doubles talents against the Cardinals.

Compared to its tight 9-7 No. 1 doubles victory earlier in the year, Marquette’s senior pair of Hush and Christina Ruiz were unable to surpass the Louisville freshman duo of Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine a second time, losing 8-1.

Ruiz and Hush cited the inclement weather and a lack of aggression at the net as the reasons they lost.

“We definitely wanted to beat them again,” Hush said. “It just wasn’t our day.”

Junior Gillian Hush and freshman Chelsea Utting picked up the No. 3 position win, allowing junior Olga Fischer and freshman Rocio Diaz to finish off the Cardinals at No. 2 against freshman Stefanie Villajuan and junior Amelia Harris.

After winning the much-needed doubles point, Marquette sealed the victory with singles wins at positions four, five and six. Singles play capped off the win, but it was the strong performance in doubles that set the tone.

The doubles squad, however, did not fare well against the Fighting Irish.

When the two teams faced off on senior night on April 17, No. 22 Notre Dame was not ready for Marquette’s strong doubles presence.

Defeating the Irish in No.2 and No. 3 doubles the Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead. However, Marquette was unable to keep that momentum going into Saturday’s match.

“When we played them Saturday, we wanted to be more competitive,” Ruiz said.

Rachael Hush and Ruiz improved upon their No. 1 doubles match score against the Irish, compared to their 8-1 loss in April. The match ended 7-5, with Notre Dame taking the doubles point before the game could be completed.

Marquette lost the doubles point along with three straight singles matches, putting itself into the third place consolation game.

“It came down to the wire and they just really pushed us,” Hush said.

DePaul also defeated the Golden Eagles for the second time this spring. After taking the doubles point, the Blue Demons took control of the match winning the No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 singles matches.

In the end, the team placed higher than its original seed, which is a great accomplishment, Bronson said.

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