On the road to perfection
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The Marquette men’s tennis team started its season with a perfect 10-0 record after the three victories this weekend.
But these wins were far from effortless.
In Saturday’s action against Big East rival Villanova and Missouri-Kansas City, the Golden Eagles managed to claim their victories in straight sets for the fifth and sixth time this season, but Sunday proved much more difficult.
Against Cleveland State, Marquette managed to pick up the doubles point with the help of senior Mark Rutherford who set the record for the most doubles victories at Marquette, with 95. Senior Niko Boulieris continued his singles record streak defeating his opponent 6-3, 7-6. But the Golden Eagles dropped two sets, one coming from senior Dusan Medan, recently ranked No. 88 in the country, who lost 0-6, 2-6.
“They were probably the toughest opponent so far,” Medan said. “I don’t think I got into the match prepared. The (opponent) played really well, and he didn’t make many mistakes. I wasn’t focused, and I lost my patience especially in the middle of the second set and that cost me the match.”
Freshman Jose Carlos Gutierrez Crowley also lost his match 6-4 in both sets.
But the Golden Eagles were not blind sided. Coach Steve Rodecap expected this kind of a battle from the Vikings but was pleased with the way his players fought to the end to get the result.
“We knew they were good coming in, and we knew they were very scrappy,” Rodecap said. “We took the doubles point, which I think really helped, especially when the singles got really tight.
“We always knew we had (one point) in the bag.”
Marquette’s opponents are getting much tougher, and with its first road match less than two weeks away, the team knows it needs to continue to work on its game to keep up the win streak.
And Rodecap believes that starts in doubles play.
“I still think that we need to key in on our doubles a little bit,” Rodecap said. “I felt like today we weren’t sharp at all three spots.
“We need to continue to push each other in practice.”
But even with the undefeated record on the line, Medan does not believe the win-loss margin adds any pressure to the team’s mentality.
“We’re just worrying about the next match,” he said. “We’re worrying about ourselves first of all, and if we do a good job then we’re just going to keep winning.”
One player in particular who put it on the line Sunday was freshman Otavio Perim, who fought a marathon with his opponent to churn out the 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win. Perim now believes that his team has proven they deserve a national ranking after their results this weekend.
“The 10-0 gives us more confidence to keep on winning,” Perim said. “I feel like our team deserves (the ranking).
“We have a really good team, from No. 1 to the last guy. We’re really solid.”
Next up for the Golden Eagles is Eastern Illinois at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium, which will also be the team’s last home game of the entire season.