The women's tennis team wrapped up the season this weekend at the Conference USA Tournament in Louisville, Ky. The team returned home, tied with DePaul, with a seventh-place finish.
Competition at the tournament has increased since last year, senior Veronica Garcia Briseno said.
"All the schools are getting so much better," she said. "This year the competition was pretty even."
The sixth-seeded Golden Eagles' first opponent in the tournament was No. 12-seeded Southern Miss. Marquette controlled the match and won, 4-1. Wins in the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles spot secured Marquette's first point of the match.
Garcia Briseno and freshman Callan Smith narrowly got past the Southern Miss pair of Nicola Slater and Katharina Sadofsky, but pulled through with a 9-7 win.
The No. 3 spot also saw a successful senior-freshman pairing. Senior Eva Trujillo Herrera and freshman Francina Bonnelly had no problem with Olivia Berry and Courtney Ulrich, winning the match, 8-4. The match in the No. 2 spot did (NOT?) go to completion because the winner had already been determined, but when the match ended the Southern Miss pairing of Nkihila Narra and Grace Kammerer were ahead of the Marquette team of seniors Genevieve Charron and Annabelle Espinosa, 7-6.
Marquette's other three points came from wins in singles at the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 spots. Playing in her usual spot of No. 2, Charron went, 6-2, 6-4, against Narra for the win. Espinosa's match at No. 4 was close in the first set, but then she dominated the second and won the set, 7-5, 6-1. Bonnelly also had a close match but pulled through with a win, defeating Berry, 7-5, 7-6.
In the first singles Garcia Briseno played a tough match and lost, 6-4, 7-5, to Slater. The matches at No. 3 and No. 6 did not finish. However, Smith was ahead in the No. 3 spot against Sadofsky (4-6, 7-5, 3-1) and freshman Dominika Dabrowski's match was tied up with Ulrich (4-6, 7-5, 4-4).
By defeating Southern Miss, Marquette moved on to the quarterfinals to face No. 3 Houston on Friday. Houston took all the points in the match and won, 4-0.
The doubles point was close, with Marquette and Houston splitting the first two matches and the third match finishing with a close score. Houston took the match in the No. 1 spot with Miranda Foley and Biljana Dimovska defeating Garcia Briseno and Smith, 8-1. The tables were turned in the No. 2 spot and Marquette's Charron and Espinosa took the match from Houston's Diana Martin and Karine Urbin, 8-1. The winner of the doubles point came down to the match in the No. 3 spot. Houston came away with the point when Yolandi Terblanche and Kami Miller defeated Bonnelly and Trujillo Herrera, 8-6.
"I thought we could have won the doubles point," Espinosa said. "If we had we could have won the whole series."
In singles Garcia Briseno last at the No. 1 spot to Foley, 6-1, 6-1. The matches at No. 3 and No. 6 both went to Houston with the same scores, 6-3, 6-1. Smith lost in the No. 3 spot to Martin and Dabrowski lost at the No. 6 spot to Miller.
"When we played Houston, we knew it was a tough team," Garcia Briseno said. "Some of us played well and some didn't. We didn't play well when we needed to."
The loss moved Marquette into the consolation bracket, where they faced No. 7 Charlotte. The 49ers won the match, 4-1, and ended Marquette's tournament run.
In doubles, Marquette lost in both the No. 1 and No. 2 spot. Garcia Briseno and Smith lost, 8-2, to Laura Swain and Ashleigh Murray and Charron and Espinosa lost, 8-3, to Ofra Friedman and Kathy Robey. In the No. 3 spot Bonnelly and Trujillo Herrera found some success and defeated Megan Bullins and Ali Piacente, 8-4.
In singles Garcia Briseno won, 6-1, 6-2, over Swain in the No. 1 spot, however that would be the only win for Marquette. Friedman took the No. 2 match from Charron, 6-2, 6-4, and in third singles Smith lost to Murray, 6-0, 6-0. Houston's final point came in the No. 4 spot, where Robey defeated Espinosa in a close match, 6-4, 7-5.
Although the seventh-place finish was not what the team had hoped for, Espinosa thought the tournament went well.
"Overall I think it was really good," she said. "We just had tough competition. We all fought really hard."