Depth gives men’s tennis edge

The Marquette men’s tennis team is gearing up for the Big East Tennis Championship after one of the deepest and most successful seasons in recent history. The No. 4-seeded Golden Eagles will take on No. 5-seeded DePaul Friday at 12 p.m.

“I personally believe this is our strongest team ever from top to bottom,” coach Steve Rodecap said. “Even once you get below our number six guy, we’re really good. Our depth is something I’ve felt really good all year about. I’ve never walked into a conference tournament feeling like we have a better group than we have right now.”

The players have bought into the system Rodecap teaches and believe in the way they have been playing.

“We’re confident in the way we’ve played.” Boulieris said. “We’re not going to change anything that we’ve done in our practices or matches. We’ve been consistent with our results, and even though we had a tough day, we’re not going to have it be a setback. We’re going to look forward to the next match.”

The results speak for themselves. The Golden Eagles finished the regular season at 16-5, tallying winning streaks of 11 to begin the season, and five at the end of the year. They could not make it a six-game streak to close the season after dropping a 4-3 result to DePaul.

“I feel like we were a little bit out of our element this weekend,” senior Niko Boulieris said. “But it’s a learning experience for the team.”

It will be a crucial learning experience if Marquette ends up being matched up with the Blue Demons in the tournament.

“We’re most likely going to play them in the first round of the Big East Tournament so I’m pretty excited about that,” Boulieris said. “It’s a revenge match. I think our guys are excited too, to get that rematch in this week.”

The team has tempered its excitement and is taking things a step at a time.

“We’re going to take it one match at a time,” Boulieris said. “We expect the highest level from the seniors, and these young guys have done a fantastic job, but we’re just going to take it one match at a time and take it from there.”

Rodecap has the same mentality and is not looking too far ahead just yet.

“Our expectations are the same every day, we worry about one day at a time,” Rodecap said. “Our first match is going to be on Friday and we will be ready for that match.”

Marquette is led by senior Dusan Medan who racked up his team-leading 26th victory of the season this weekend against the Blue Demons, but it is the team’s depth that has made them so successful this year.

“Anytime you can get that many wins against the level that Medan is playing against is huge,” Rodecap said. “We have guys that are getting it done at other areas, too. It’s not about one guy. It’s about six at this time of the year.”

Senior Mark Rutherford said the team’s depth has him believing they can beat anyone at the tournament.

“This is definitely the deepest team we’ve had during my career here,” Rutherford said. “We have guys at the bottom of the lineup who have beaten top players at Notre Dame.”