The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Young team faces early test against Minnesota

Junior Drake Kakar and the Marquette men’s tennis team will face tougher competition in the spring season. File photo.

The Marquette men’s tennis team has finished fourth in the Big East the last four seasons and has had two members receive All-Big East honors the last two years under the guidance of coach Steve Rodecap.

Both players who received conference honors are gone, and with the loss of seniors Niko Boulieris, Dusan Medan and Mark Rutherford, Rodecap’s young team will need to use experience gained from the fall season against its spring opponents.

Medan, who received All-Big East honors his junior and senior years, will be a significant loss for the Golden Eagles, but Rodecap is hoping the lone senior on the team, Jose Manuel Munoz, can provide leadership and help ease the upperclassmen departures.

“He didn’t get as many opportunities last season with three seniors still there,” Rodecap said. “But it was pleasant to see the steps he took, and his leadership has grown because his results were really good.”

Munoz is also excited for the opportunity to lead the young Golden Eagles team.

“It feels pretty amazing,” Munoz said. “It helps that everyone is self-motivated and that we all pump each other up before a match.”

Freshman Logon Collins, who recorded an impressive record of 11-5 in singles play last fall, is expected to be one of the top contributors for the Golden Eagles this spring. To ready himself for the spring season, Collins said he has worked on his serve, backhand and net game to improve on his individual fall record.

After a fall season where the team had to deal with injuries to sophomore Jose Carlos Gutierrez Crowley and junior Drake Kaker, the team is back to full strength and ready for the upcoming season.

While the goal is another winning season, the team is focused more on personal preparation for the competition ahead.

The men finished 16-6 a year ago, but that was a team led by three seniors. This team needs to work to find its identity.

“We just have to take it one match at a time,” Rodecap said. “The goal with a young team is to progress and get better with each match.”

The opening of fall competition put Marquette up against a majority of unranked teams. The men met up with teams such as Western Michigan, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Northern Illinois, which do not compare to the teams they will meet this spring.

The Golden Eagles start off the spring schedule against Minnesota. The Gophers finished ranked No. 35 in the nation last year.

Munoz said it’s important for Marquette to play ranked teams so the team can reach its ultimate goal.

“We are playing a lot of ranked teams,” Munoz said. “As a team, we are striving to make the NCAA tournament. We have a good chance to start the season off right with Minnesota.”

Rodecap said the spring season schedule will be tough both in and out of conference for his young team, but his players are anxious to get started.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *