Tennis teams face ranked opponents in respective openers

The men’s and women’s tennis teams started their respective seasons this past weekend, and both faced ranked opponents. The men’s team lost 7-0 to No. 30 Notre Dame, while the women’s team lost to No. 41 Minnesota 5-2 and defeated Montana 6-1.

The men’s team knew Notre Dame was going to be a difficult opponent, with the overall team being ranked, as well as a doubles pair and four individual players. Coach Steve Rodecap said the team knew it was going to be a tough match, but it was good to see how Marquette compares to top competition early in the season.

“It’s the first match,” Rodecap said. “It’s hard to put a lot of stock into it. But the sign of a good team is how they rebound … our guys aren’t wavering over one match.”

Sophomore Cameron Tehrani, the only Golden Eagle to win a set against Notre Dame, agreed with his coach.

“That was a good opportunity for us,” Tehrani said. “We learned a lot about a lot of guys on the team. We like to move forward, take the goods and bads from the matches and see what we can do with them.”

The team’s first chance to get back on track is against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Friday and Illinois-Chicago on Saturday. The men’s team will play five of its first six matches at home and will host 14 of 23 matches in Milwaukee.

Rodecap said while having the edge of home court is good, the away games will have more implications for the team’s season.

“It’s a matter of comfort,” Rodecap said. “We’re not easy to beat in our facility… what’s going to make us better is not only protecting our home court, but we’ve got to win on the road.”

The women’s team showed the rebound that Rodecap was encouraging for his team, as the Golden Eagles defeated Montana 6-1 after a 5-2 loss to No. 41 Minnesota the day before. Sophomore Ali Dawson and junior Rocio Diaz led the Golden Eagles in the doubles, and a convincing 6-1, 6-3 victory by sophomore Ana Pimienta in the first singles match and a 6-1, 6-1 victory by freshman Aleeza Kanner in the fifth singles match continued that success.

“Minnesota beat Montana 4-3, and we won 6-1,” said coach Jody Bronson. “If we could have come out stronger against Minnesota, we could have won. But there’s a learning curve.”

The Golden Eagles will be on the road a lot during the season, as only eight of the team’s 22 matches will be in Milwaukee. The first home match will be against University of Illinois-Chicago on Feb 1.

“Playing against Minnesota on the road, now we know what to expect,” Bronson said. “It’s never easy being on the road, but all teams have to do it, and we have to find a way to overcome it.”

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