Ending the week one-for-three in San Francisco wasn’t enough to keep sophomore Gillian Hush and junior Christina Ruiz out of the spotlight over spring break.
The women are the latest to be named Big East Tennis Players of the Week, Hush holding the spot for the first two weeks of March and Ruiz snagging the title over break and holding it for a second week, announced earlier today.
The women are also the first Marquette women’s tennis players ever to receive the honor and to hold it for a month straight.
Hush has been noticeably dominant in singles play this season, a polar transition from her time on the bench as a freshman.
“Especially since I sat out some last year, I had to work even harder for my position,” Hush said. “The honor was great, and it motivates me to keep up my dedication.”
After winning 6-0, 6-1 against San Jose State, she fell in close sets against San Francisco, 7-6 (6), 6-3 and Santa Clara, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, all at No. 6. Hush still has the best singles record on the squad, only dropping three of her last 10.
But the newly crowned Player of the Week is edging in on that territory.
Ruiz continued with consistency and deservedly stole the Player of the Week title, running undefeated on the week and pulling ahead to a four-win streak. She also remains undefeated at No. 4.
“She deserves the honor because every day she gives 110 percent,” Hush said about her teammate. “It was even more exciting because she is the second person for Marquette to earn this award and makes us want to keep it rolling.”
Ruiz said she was surprised to earn the recognition coming after Hush’s two-week dominance, but her fierce performance over break was noticed two weeks in a row.
Ruiz’s partnership with Rachael Hush proved ever strong in California. The duo kicked off the week with an 8-0 win at No. 1 against San Jose State, helping to secure the doubles point and take the 6-1 victory for Marquette.
The tandem sit on a six-win streak, downing San Francisco midweek 8-7 (2) and closing out with an 8-4 win over Santa Clara.
“We have been lucky to play so well together,” Ruiz said, noting the three solid wins in California.
Head coach Jody Bronson said she’s proud that her team is earning recognition in the conference, especially since it’s the first time the Golden Eagles have earned the honors in women’s tennis.
The Golden Eagles lost the last two matches last week 4-3 against San Francisco and Santa Clara in matches that Bronson said were very winnable.
“We were disappointed. We were right there,” Bronson said. “We just have to try to get over that hump and just be able to grind it out and be mentally tough a little bit longer.”
As the squad approaches the Big East Tournament at the end of April, Bronson is hoping to coach consistency and keep the women moving in the right direction.
The women are 11-9 on the season going on the road again next week to face Oklahoma on April 1 and at Wichita State on April 3.
“We’re excited for another opportunity. Oklahoma is ranked, they’re going to be a handful for us,” Bronson said, “and I’m hoping we can really step it up and try to pull an upset there.”
Ruiz agreed the weekend holds a couple of tough matches, but she said they are entirely winnable.
“They’d be great wins to have, coming near the end of the season,” she said.