Thrilling match ends in defeat

In a contest where the mood changed from one extreme to the other and with every match making a difference, the women's tennis team walked off the court Wednesday night with somber looks.

With all other matches completed and the scored tied at 3-3, sixth singles battled out with the advantage constantly switching between Marquette and DePaul. Freshman Francina Bonnelly fought through not only a hard match, but a cramped leg. In the second set, with the score tied at 5-5, Bonnelly fell to the ground in pain. Despite the pain she pushed forward, and was able to stay on top of her game. Bonnelly fought hard, but was unable to leave the match with a win — for herself or for the team. DePaul's Petra Rehusova took the match, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.

"She fought as hard as she could," head coach Jody Bronson said. "She had some opportunities. When she would lose the point she was back fighting. She was in it to the end."

Unlike the ending of the match between the Conference USA rivals, the beginning was looking bright for the Golden Eagles. The team grabbed the doubles point, something the team has been struggling with all season.

Senior Veronica Garcia-Briseno and freshman Callan Smith snatched Marquette's first win at No. 1 singles, defeating Marina Parashkevova and Rehusova, 8-2. Third singles was the next to finish, with senior Annabelle Espinosa and Bonnelly falling 8-1 to Stephanie Matko and Gergana Ganeva. The Golden Eagles secured the doubles point with the win in twos by senior duo Genevieve Charron and Eva Trujillo-Herrera defeated Natalie Matko and Karen Falduto, 8-5.

Bronson was pleased with the team's performance in doubles.

"That was huge going into singles knowing that we had that point," she said.

Smith, playing third singles, was the first to finish and fell, 6-0, 6-2, to Natalie Matko. Her loss was followed by a loss in the two spot by Charron, who lost, 6-0, 6-1 to Ganeva. The two losses gave DePaul the advantage, 2-1. Espinosa rounded off the next match with a win, defeating Falduto, 6-2, 6-2, at the No. 5 spot and tying the score up, 2-2.

Garcia-Briseno was the next to finish at first singles. She took the first set with no trouble, 6-0. However, in the second set Parashkevova challenged her and kept the score close. Garcia-Briseno came out with the win, 6-0, 7-5.

Trujillo-Herrera went through a battle in the No. 4 spot. The match went into three sets and frustration could be seen on both Trujillo-Herrera and Brenda Leung's faces. Leung took the match in the end, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1. The loss tied up the team scores at 3-3, and the final outcome rested on Bonnelly's match. The long night ended with DePaul coming out ahead and taking the match, 4-3.

Bronson thought the team had some tough matches, but played well.

"I was happy with how they all battled," she said. "All I ask of them is to step onto the court believing you can win.

I think we were a step closer today. We just have to keep stepping forward in each match, whether we win or lose – we need to take something from the match."

The Golden Eagles travel to Notre Dame on Saturday and will then play again Monday at home against Wisconsin-Green Bay at 4:30 p.m.