Game Set Match

The senior members of any team are important: They bring experience, serve as leaders and teach the younger players. It is never easy for a team to see them leave. For the women's tennis team the seniors were more than that — they were half of the team.

Genevieve Charron, Annabelle Espinosa, Veronica Garcia-Briseno and Eva Trujillo-Herrera not only make up half the team, they were the only players with collegiate experience. The other team members — Francina Bonnelly, Andrea Bukacek, Dominika Dabrowski and Callan Smith — are freshmen.

The four seniors led the way for the four freshmen.

"We always looked up to them because they knew our coach, what you could do and what you couldn't do, and everything," Dabrowski said. "They provided a lot of positive energy."

Head coach Jody Bronson described the seniors as a group that led by example.

"They displayed their leadership in how hard they worked in practice and how hard they fought in matches," Bronson said.

The seniors filled up four of the top five singles positions. After leading the team for the past year the girls will leave Marquette and go their separate ways.

Garcia-Briseno, a native of Torreon, Mexico, consistently played in the No. 1 spot in both singles and doubles. A business major, she said she plans to return home to Mexico after graduation and join the family business: a marble factory. Garcia-Briseno plans to get in contact with contractors in the United States for the business.

Garcia-Briseno has plenty of plans for work after college, but she does not have any for continuing with competitive tennis.

"There's no one to play with where I'm from," she said. "I would love to keep playing, but there's no one to play with — only old ladies."

She said that tennis will be a hard aspect of her life to replace after playing competitively for so long.

Charron, who hails from Boucherville, Quebec, will return home and plans to attend law school in Canada to study biotechnological law. This season she was the regular competitor in the No. 2 spot in singles and played in both No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Like Garcia-Briseno, Charron said she probably would not continue to play tennis competitively. However, she would like to possibly teach tennis.

Espinosa, who came to Marquette from Panama City, Panama, will remain in the United States, but said she may move to Florida. She hopes to find a job in either marketing or broadcasting. She is also looking into graduate school and would like to be an assistant coach while in graduate school.

Espinosa is different than Charron and Garcia-Briseno in that she plans to continue playing competitive tennis. She said she will still play in Central American and Caribbean games, which she has been participating in for years.

"I've been doing it for so long and I just don't want to give it up," she said.

Following graduation Trujillo-Herrera will head to Ecuador to volunteer in an indigenous community. She became interested in the venture through her political science major, in which she became intrigued by the politics in Ecuador. She won't be able to continue to play tennis competitively while volunteering. Although she will miss tennis, she is glad to move onto something new.

"I really want to get involved with what I am studying," Trujillo-Herrera said.

The group its sophomore season as one of its fondest memories. That year the team ended the season by making it to the finals of the Conference USA tournament.

Bronson has been with the other three for their entire journey at Marquette.

"They were a talented group, but we were never able to get them all on the court (because of injury) until this season," Bronson said.

Through wins, losses and injuries she has watched the group grow.

"They've definitely grown as people," Bronson said. "They've learned a lot about themselves."

Their departure will leave the team in the hands of the freshman, who Bronson said will face a lot of pressure to become leaders.

"There is tremendous pressure on the freshman because they will be the upperclassmen," she said. "They have a big role to fill and will have to fill it fast."

Dabrowski echoed the change in the team's make up for next year.

"It will take a lot of adjusting," she said. "We're still going through the process of adjusting but hopefully by the end of sophomore year will be there. It's going to be a young team."

The times the team spent on the bus traveling to matches are Dabrowski's favorite memories of the seniors.

"Everyone on our team is so different, but we all get a long so well — that whole chemistry will be missed," Dabrowski said.

As the season ended, Bronson watched the girls finish their college careers and will now watch them move on to new things.

"I've enjoyed them, I'm proud of them — it's been great to watch them grow," she said.