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Boulieris’ name among the greats at MU

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Niko Boulieris moved into the Marquette record books with his win Friday night.

You may not know it, but senior tennis player Niko Boulieris and professional basketball player Jerel McNeal have a lot in common.

They both hail from the Land of Lincoln, both were an integral part of their respective teams all four years and both hold all-time Marquette records. Everyone knew McNeal was one of the best to ever play at Marquette, but few know Boulieris still is.

Boulieris, a senior, etched his name among the greats Friday night by defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Henning Jess 6-1, 6-3, for the 79th singles victory of his career.The win made him the all-time winningest singles player in Marquette history, passing former Marquette standout Kenneth Ore who held the wins record since 1995.

“It means a whole lot,” Boulieris said. “That’s something that I’ve always wanted to accomplish, especially coming into Marquette.”

Coach Steve Rodecap has been with Boulieris every step of the way and was proud of his player’s record.

“It’s a special accomplishment for Niko. He’s worked really hard and continued to improve every year,” Rodecap said. “He came in as a freshman and got a lot of wins and just kind of propelled from there.”

Next on the to-do list for the senior is to claim the all-time wins record. Boulieris is currently in second place all-time with 144 career victories. He needs 17 more victories to catch former Golden Eagle Brett Binkley who holds the record with 161.

Freshman Otavio Perim sees the effort Boulieris puts in every day and said the senior is deserving of the records.

“Niko’s been here for a while and he deserves it,” Perim said. “He’s a hard worker in practice.”

Boulieris may possess an individual record, but he is the epitome of a team player. When asked about the record, Boulieris was quick to credit his teammates.

“The bottom line is the guys push me every day in practice. Coach pushes me every day in practice,” Boulieris said. “They’re the sole reason I am where I am in terms of that record. So it’s because of them that I’m here.”

Rodecap added, “I think Niko is more of a team guy and that’s an individual accomplishment. He is proud of it but I think his goals for the year are more team-oriented.”

Boulieris has helped Marquette jump out to a perfect 7-0 start this season. This weekend he notched three victories in the Golden Eagles wins against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Bradley, two in singles play and one in doubles play. There is still a lot of season to go though, and Marquette is not getting ahead of itself.

“We still realize that there are a lot of matches in front of us,” Rodecap said. “There are a lot of things that we need to get better at. We feel like at this point of the year, we are where we thought we should be and we’re going to have some opportunities coming up that we need to be ready for.”

Boulieris knows now is not the time for the team to be patting itself on the back.

“You don’t want to think too much about records because in the long run they don’t really matter,” Boulieris said. “What matters is playing your best tennis at the end of the season into the Big East Tournament.”

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