In a doubleheader against Western Michigan and Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sunday, the women’s tennis team gave coach Jody Bronson a birthday to remember.
Beginning with a “We Are Marquette” chant and ending with junior Gillian Hush defeating Western Michigan freshman Nini Sujashvili for a 4-3 victory over the Broncos, the women got the day off to a good start.
Aggressive offense at the net and strong serving played a big role in doubles.
Marquette took the doubles point against Western Michigan by winning two of three matches. The victorious Marquette teams capitalized on short volleys.
Seniors Rachael Hush and Christina Ruiz had powerful serves against No. 1 doubles opponents senior Amanda Moccia and junior April Kerr. Rachael Hush aced the last two serves of the match to clinch the 8-2 win.
Junior Paola Calderon and freshman Rocio Diaz also won, taking the second doubles match 9-7 after fighting to come back from a 3-5 deficit against junior Maria Nivia and Sujashvili.
Although the women’s aggressive play carried over into singles matches, they couldn’t maintain momentum, losing their first sets on all six courts.
“I think they wanted to win so badly that maybe they weren’t quite as relaxed as they should have been,” Bronson said.
Sophomore Kelly Barry, freshman Chelsea Utting and Gillian Hush each forced a third set to finally take down the Broncos.
Picking up where they left off against Western Michigan, the Golden Eagles secured the doubles point in their second match of the day against cross-town rival Milwaukee.
“We kind of just had to pretend like it was a new day, new match,” Gillian Hush said. “No matter what, we have to give 110 percent.”
Unlike their match with the Broncos, the women dominated singles play, ending the day with a 7-0 shutout over the Panthers.
Gillian Hush, who walked away with a 6-0, 6-4 singles victory over senior Sammi Schoen, said her backhand wasn’t where she wanted it to be Sunday. She started off slow in almost every match, she said.
“They put so much effort into that first match,” Bronson said. “They knew they had to be very, very smart because they were going to be a little bit tired.”
Diaz said her singles match against freshman Kristin Kurer was nerve-wracking since it was only her third singles match at Marquette and her first victory of the season.
Diaz’s partner Calderon struggled with her returns in doubles play against Western Michigan, but she improved dramatically in that area during her singles match, defeating Milwaukee junior Megan Gow easily, 6-2, 6-3.
In a close final matchup, Utting defeated sophomore Brittany Skemp in three sets (6-1, 5-7, 10-5) to secure the shutout.
The women host Iowa and Northern Illinois on Saturday at the Helfaer Tennis Stadium, where they will look to push their winning streak to four and improve on their 4-3 record.