The Marquette men’s and women’s tennis teams open the Big East Championships Friday as the higher seed, as the No. 2 men’s team battles No. 7 Creighton, while the No. 4 women face off against No. 5 Georgetown.
The men’s team (12-9) has plenty of momentum coming into the tournament, as the Golden Eagles won six of their last seven matches and came one set short of making it seven wins in a row. During that stretch, Marquette beat fellow Big East schools Xavier (5-2), Butler (4-3) and DePaul (6-1.) DePaul is No. 3, Xavier No. 4 and Butler No. 5 seeds in the tournament.
Creighton looked strong midway through the season with a five-game winning streak, but followed that up by losing four of its last five matches and three in a row. Butler and Xavier are common opponents between the Bluejays and Golden Eagles, with Creighton losing to Butler 4-1 and Xavier 5-2.
“It’s an exciting time of year for our guys and I know they will be ready to compete against a very good Creighton team on Friday morning,” coach Steve Rodecap told GoMarquette.com. “This year provides a new venue for the tournament and we are looking forward to beginning our preparations for our trip to Indianapolis.”
A key to a Marquette victory will be earning the doubles point to lay a solid foundation for singles play. The Golden Eagles claimed the doubles point in only four of its last seven games, including the loss to Cleveland State.
In singles play, Marquette will also need strong showings from junior Daniel Fernandez in the No. 1 spot and senior Cameron Tehrani at No. 6. Senior Vukasin Teofanovic will also need to play a strong role in his No. 2 spot and provide leadership to the rest of the lineup.
Should Marquette win its match Friday, it will face the winner of No. 3 DePaul vs. No. 6 Georgetown Saturday before the championship Sunday.
The women’s team heads to Indianapolis with some slight momentum as the No. 4 seed. The Golden Eagles had a rough stretch to end the season, losing five of its last seven games, but its two wins were victories against Big East teams Butler (7-0) and Seton Hall (6-1). Butler is ranked No. 7 in the Big East Championships, while Seton Hall is ranked No. 6.
Georgetown has more momentum than Marquette, as the Hoyas won their final three matches of the regular season. The only similar opponent between the two schools was Seton Hall, and the Hoyas beat the Pirates 4-3 March 7.
Marquette will face a tough opponent, but should be able to clinch the win if the team gets singles points from its No. 4 through No. 6 spots. The Golden Eagles will need wins from those spots should it lose the doubles point and could clinch the win with one or two wins from that spot if they win the doubles point.
Should the Golden Eagles beat the Hoyas, they would face the winner of No. 1 DePaul and the winner of No. 8 Providence vs. No. 9 Creighton.