The Marquette women’s tennis team defeated Illinois-Chicago 4-3 on Jan. 23, 2011. On Saturday, history repeated itself as the Golden Eagles edged the same Flames at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium by the same score.
Later Saturday, the Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix had their wings clipped as Marquette won all of its matches against the Phoenix. Seniors Olga Fischer and Gillian Hush went undefeated on the day in their singles and doubles matches against Illinois-Chicago and Green Bay to help lock up a 2-0 start to the spring season.
“We all came in with a mentality that we were going to win,” Hush said. “There was no other option. We all did what we had to do.”
Since last fall, consistency has become the focus of this young team, including four underclassmen.
Hush pointed out some of the mechanics of her serve that needed improvement, but consistency was the prime target in practice leading up to the weekend’s matches.
After toying with the pairing of freshman Ana Pimienta and Hush as doubles partners at the IU Winter Invitational, coach Jody Bronson put Fischer and Hush together at the No. 1 position against Illinois-Chicago and Green Bay.
Bronson admitted that as easily as the wins came for the seniors, no doubles partners were set in stone after Saturday.
“Heading into every match, we just take it one day at a time and look for the best match-up that gives us the best chance to win,” Bronson said.
Hush and Fischer looked like they had played together for quite some time, as they came out of the gates with intensity and never let their opponents get too close.
“Gillian (Hush) and I communicate really well on the court,” Fischer said. “I know where she is going to hit (the ball), and she knows where I’m going to hit it. It’s great for both of us.”
Hush asserted a feeling of comfort with Fischer by her side with the crowd watching. The doubles match against Illinois-Chicago was the first time that Hush graced the home-court at the No.1 position in her time at Marquette.
“I loved playing with Olga (Fischer), especially on court one with the energy of our fans,” Hush said. “We pump each other up. We have great chemistry. She feeds off me and I feed off her. Overall, it’s just really fun.”
Fischer dealt with the crowd again in her singles matches as she battled Mariya Kovaleva of Illinois-Chicago and Jennifer Bradfield of Green Bay. Before she routed Bradfield with an impressive (6-0, 6-0), she had to fight back after dropping her second set to Kovaleva.
Even as a senior, Fischer she felt apprehensive in her first home match of the season but was ready the second time around.
“It was my first test on game day,” Fischer said. “I was nervous, but I was warmed up for the second one and it was just a short process (to get on track).”
Illinois-Chicago was expected to have an edge with experience, since it carried five upperclassmen and two underclassmen, but Marquette underclassmen like sophomore Rocio Diaz and freshman Ana Pimienta came out victorious in doubles action.
The Golden Eagles hope for similar results as they head to Kalamazoo, Mich., to battle Iowa State Saturday and Western Michigan Sunday. Both teams are laden with upperclassmen with at least five juniors and seniors apiece.