Women’s tennis beats Western Michigan

There was the men's tennis team, sitting on the sidelines and cheering like they were the ones wearing the skirts. In a neck and neck match against nationally ranked Western Michigan, the lady Golden Eagles needed all the support they could get. And it worked. With the men doing the cheerleading, Marquette pulled out a huge 4-3 win on a cold as ice, tough as nails, three set win by freshman Olga Fischer.

"I came into this match wanting to see how much heart our team had," coach Jody Bronson said. "I know how hard they have worked and played, but I wanted to see if they had the heart."

There's no doubt that the team passed the test. After grinding out the key doubles point on the backing of a 9-8 win by Fischer and senior Robin Metzler, Marquette looked poised to change their luck against a team they usually have little success against.

"This was the first time Robin has beaten this team since she has been at Marquette," Bronson said. "I think she played her best match of the year."

After Western Michigan's Kerstin Pahl dispatched Paula Calderon 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, Metzler and sophomore Rachael Hush responded. Metzler and Hush both won pretty handedly at No. 5 and No. 4 to put the Golden Eagles up 3-1 against the No. 56 Broncos.

"I thought that I played pretty well," Metzler said. "I got up early, had good energy, and fought hard."

The entire team had a little fight in them on this day. It was important to come out with fire and confidence against a team who had won 40 straight matches against non-ranked opponents, and Marquette did just that. Staring a pivotal team win in the face with a 3-1 lead, the Golden Eagles simply refused to go away.

Sophomore Kylie Moore and freshman Gillian Hush both lost heartbreakers. Moore fell 6-7, 6-7 to Jenny Nalepa and Hush was defeated 6-7, 4-6. Despite the gritty and unflinching play of the Marquette underclassmen, Western Michigan had managed to claw its way back to a tie. The deciding point would be left in the hands of Fischer, who had already stepped in for the injured Christina Ruiz and No. 2 doubles and delivered a crucial performance. All eyes were on her.

"I didn't play my best today, but I just tried to play smart," Fischer said.

Whatever she tried, it worked. With the collective backing of the entire tennis team, Fischer willed herself to a grueling win, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, to finish off the upset. It was a remarkable individual performance to cap an extraordinary team win. The victory was the teams second against a ranked opponent and it moved them to a 13-6 overall record. Marquette has certainly showed some flashes of brilliance and has pulled of major upheavals of top flight competition, but Bronson and company aren't done yet.

"This win was a huge stepping stone for us, but we're not satisfied," Bronson said. "We'll never live up to our own expectations and we can always do better. But this was a big hurdle we overcame."

Metzler agreed, saying that despite some good wins there is always room for improvement.

With the Big East Championships looming in the not too distant future, it looks like Marquette is playing its best tennis of the season. And maybe when those championships do roll around, the men's team will pick up their pom-poms and continue their whole hearted support. If the team continues their strong play, they might have a lot to cheer about.