The Marquette women’s tennis team knew coming into this season it had work to do. With four new faces on the 2011-12 squad, coach Jody Bronson will spend most of the fall season finding the best formula to create wins in the spring.
Last weekend Marquette participated in its first tournament, the Milwaukee Tennis Classic. Like all fall tournaments, no team scores were recorded, and the results only counted towards the player’s individual records.
Bronson said she learned a lot during the weekend but not enough to make any long-term decisions.
“We only had three days of team practice so I really didn’t have any expectations going into last weekend,” Bronson said. “I probably will be going into the tournament this weekend with expectations now that I’ve seen them compete, and we’ve had some practices.”
Overall, the team enjoyed moderate success in the singles rounds in the Classic, but only two pairs — senior Kristina Radan and freshman Ali Dawson, and senior Gillian Hush and freshman Ana Pimienta— notched doubles wins. Bronson was quick to acknowledge the pairs’ success, but still expressed a desire to keeping mixing it up.
“They did well, but the question is can we do better?” Bronson said. “We need all three of our doubles teams to win, so that’s where you need to keep looking at different combinations. You can’t use one weekend to make those decisions. We also have to still evaluate how confident each player is at each position.”
While the retooled roster presents many challenges, recognizing the leaders of the team has been easy.
Senior Olga Fischer went 2-1 at No. 1 singles last weekend. Both victories went into a third set. Twice Fischer fell behind early and battled back, which embodies the attitude Bronson wants her entire squad to emulate.
“That ‘never give up’ attitude is a confidence thing,” Bronson said. “It says that even when you feel like you may have lost a step, that you’re still good enough to win and you have to apply that mentality to every point you play. Olga definitely has that mentality, and she hates losing.”
Fischer, along with fellow senior Hush, has taken on the responsibility of teaching her less-
experienced teammates the same things they learned from previous upperclassmen.
“Olga and I have been here four years, and we’ve learned through others how to take accountability for our actions, how to hustle and what to do at practice,” Hush said. “I think we’ve done a good job of keeping everybody motivated and positive.”
Hush said that heading into the weekend’s Spartan Invitational in East Lansing, Mich., the Golden Eagles want to work on their court movement. Fischer said this has to do with a change in surface.
“We played on clay courts in the last tournament and we’re going to be on hard courts again this weekend,” Fischer said. “We are going to be outside again, so we need to take factors like the wind into consideration.”
Bronson said winning is still most important, despite the lineup juggling.
“We want to beat into them that we want them to be aggressive, dictating players,” she said. “They’ve got to be consistent, be able to hit a big ball and be able to dictate the point.”