ONLINE: Men’s tennis falls to No. 31 Wisconsin

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A failure to capitalize on key moments led to the Marquette men's tennis team's 1-6 loss to No. 31 Wisconsin-its first loss of the year.

But despite what the final score indicates, this match was by no means a blowout. The Golden Eagles, especially senior Trent Hagan and juniors Dusan Medan and Mark Rutherford, gave it their all and pushed the nationally-ranked Badger squad to its limit.

Rutherford gave Marquette its only point of the day, defeating opponent Michael Muskievicz in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.

Hagan took the monumental challenge of facing No. 36-ranked Marek Michalicka. Hagan won the first set 6-4 then dropped the second set 3-6. In the final set, the senior captain was against the ropes, down 1-5, then showed incredible grit to battle back 4-5. He ultimately lost the heated battle 4-6 to the talented Michalicka.

Medan faced the Badgers' other ranked player, No. 117 Moritz Baumann, and had flashes of brilliance early in the second set. After a controversial call-Baumann claimed Medan's shot was out of bounds after he had already played it and volleyed it into the net-cost Medan a point, his game unraveled. He lost in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

Marquette's other senior captain, Stephen Shao, lost 6-3, 7-5 to Luke Rassow-Kantor in singles play.

In doubles play, Marquette was simply on the wrong side of some tough bounces. Hagan and Shao were dead even with the No. 9-ranked regional team of Michalicka and Baumann, but lost a hard fought battle in a tiebreaker. Again, Hagan was the most emotional player on the court.

"We just wanted to come out with a lot of fire and make statement," Hagan said, "Things didn't end up going our way, but it was a big step to play against a ranked opponent like we did."

In the other doubles match-ups, Rutherford and freshman Jonathan Schwerin lost to Rassow-Kantor and Muskievicz 8-7. Medan and freshman Drake Kakar lost to Peter Marrack and Michael Dierberger 7-5. The Golden Eagles may have been defeated, but coach Steve Rodecap said he was pleased with their effort.

"I thought we competed really well and that's all you can ask for," Rodecap said, "They were just better than us today, but it wasn't because we didn't compete. We didn't play our best, but that happens, you can't control that."

Another thing Marquette couldn't control was the health of junior Niko Boulieris, who was at the hospital with a viral illness. Boulieris' availability for the match was unknown until just a few hours before play began. Rodecap didn't single out not having one of his better players as an excuse, but did believe it affected his team's mental state.

"Niko is our vocal leader and having him suddenly go to the hospital right before the match was a little nerve-wracking for the team," Rodecap said, "We had to make changes to the doubles pairings and things like that. But our guys responded really well and played hard."

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