Marquette men’s tennis bounced back in a big way after being swept at Minnesota, beating IUPUI 6-1 in its home opener on Friday.
Marquette found itself tied 1-1 in doubles after sophomore Dan Mamalat and junior Jose Carlos Gutierrez Crowley won their doubles match 8-6 and the Jaguars claimed an 8-4 win over senior Jonathan Schwerin and freshman Vukasin Teofanovic. It came down to the freshman duo of Cameron Tehrani and James Stark who prevailed 9-8 to secure the doubles point and momentum for the Golden Eagles.
“We got up early, but then we got a little bit tight and let them back in,” Tehrani said. “We finished strong, and we were fortunate to come away with the win. We knew we just had to stay calm and that those are the situations you always want to be in where you’re in a position to win the doubles round for your team.”
The Golden Eagles went on to win five of six singles matches, led by Crowley’s 6-0, 6-1 win in the No. 1 spot. Crowley, who missed most of the fall with back problems, said it’s been a long road to recovery, but that he’s feeling better with every match.
“It’s been a tough comeback for me with a lot of time put into training and keeping my body healthy,” Crowley said. “I felt pretty good today in singles around the baseline and doing the simple stuff.”
The home environment, Tehrani said, helped the freshman perform better than they had against the Golden Gophers as they were able to find their comfort zone.
“We put a lot of pressure on those guys, and the crowd was behind us,” Tehrani said. “It was tough last week when we were on the road, but it was easier this week to get settled in with a lot of people out here to support us.”
Coach Steve Rodecap said his team displayed a lot more of the aggression it had lacked in its season opener, and early momentum allowed them to pull away from IUPUI.
“Obviously the doubles point helped a lot, and our main guys relaxed and were able to play the way they are capable of playing,” Rodecap said. “I feel like we did a good job of dictating the play and controlling the tempo, and it was good to see our guys take advantage of the flow.”
Rodecap said his team put itself in a lot more positions to win matches as opposed to last weekend where he said the Golden Eagles could’ve won only four of nine possible matchups.
“Today we put ourselves in a position to win two out of three doubles and five out of six singles,” Rodecap said. “I’m not going to be satisfied until we can get all nine.”
Rodecap was pleased with the way Starks and Tehrani performed in the doubles round and said that he even preferred the tight situation the duo battled through in terms of growth and development. Rodecap still recognizes Mamalat and Crowley as Marquette’s leaders, however, and said their performances and attitudes helped set the standard both in the previous week of practice and in the win.
“I think the biggest influence those guys have on our players is every day in practice,” Rodecap said. “Our guys all know that Jose (Crowley) and Dan (Mamalat) are very competitive, and both of them have hearts the size of Texas, and that when there’s a team event on the line they’re gamers.”