MU women’s tennis sweeps the weekend

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In a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 19, Marquette’s women’s tennis team upset No. 48 Iowa 4-3 and shut out Northern Illinois 7-0 at Helfaer Tennis Stadium, improving its record to 6-3 for the season.

Iowa is the highest ranked team the Golden Eagles have faced this season and the women proved themselves in the end.

The Golden Eagles were up a point in the match when junior Olga Fischer lost 7-6 to Iowa senior Jessica Young in the No. 2 singles match, allowing the Hawkeyes to tie the match at 3-3.

Senior Christina Ruiz, one of the team’s most valuable doubles players and recently named Opus Student-Athlete of the week for Feb. 14-20, was left to claim the fourth point at No. 5 singles.

In the deciding match against freshman Jessica Cohen, Ruiz won her first set 6-1. After losing the second set 4-6, Ruiz had to win the third set to clinch the match for Marquette. Ruiz came up clutch and won the third set 6-1.

Ruiz was in the same situation against No. 71 Minnesota on Feb. 6 — with the fate of the match in her hands — and said she didn’t want to let the team down again against Iowa.

“I lost the deciding match against Minnesota, so it meant everything to me to win it (Saturday) for my team,” Ruiz said.

Coach Jody Bronson said Ruiz was able to come back from the loss and capitalize against Iowa, which was important to help build up her confidence.

The team lost three critical singles matches at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 against the Hawkeyes, which could have cost it the match had Ruiz not won.

After winning two of three doubles matches against Iowa and taking all three from Northern Illinois, the women are making strides in doubles after that aspect of the game cost them against Minnesota.

During the Iowa match, No. 1 senior pair Ruiz and Rachael Hush won the doubles point for the women, defeating Young and junior Sonja Molnar, 8-6.

Sprinting in from the back line, Ruiz returned a short play over the net from the Hawkeyes. Hush returned the next volley to Molnar, who played the ball into the net to end the match. Hush and Ruiz have won seven straight No. 1 doubles matches this spring.

Junior Gillian Hush and freshman Chelsea Utting also won both doubles matches, against Iowa’s Cohen and freshman Christina Harazin (8-3) and Northern Illinois’ team of senior Marina Schnapp and junior Sara McLaughlin (8-2).

Utting faced a more challenging No. 5 singles match against Northern Illinois’s freshman Haley Dekkinga. The match ended in a 10-point tiebreaking set which Utting won by the score of 11-9.

Freshman Rocio Diaz, playing in her second singles match of her career, walked away winning 6-0, 6-1 at the No. 6 position against the Huskies’ freshman Ilse Pacheco.

Junior Paola Calderon, who had struggled in previous singles matches, won both matches Saturday against Iowa and Northern Illinois.

“I was proud that we all played well and that I played well too,” Calderon said.

Northern Illinois struggled throughout the day against Marquette, especially in doubles. Rachael Hush and Ruiz along with the pair of sophomore Kelly Barry and Calderon took down both No. 1 and No. 2 opponents, 8-0.

The women take their three-match winning streak to Madison, Wis., tomorrow to battle the in-state rival Wisconsin Badgers.

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