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BIG EAST Tennis Tournament Preview

No. 2 men riding win streak, No. 5 women enjoy bye

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Both of Marquette’s tennis teams are headed to the BIG EAST Tournament this week in Cayce, South Carolina. For both squads, playing in South Carolina presents the challenge of playing outside, something they have had limited experience doing this season.

The men’s team enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed and is riding a four-match win streak against BIG EAST opponents. However, men’s head coach Steve Rodecap doesn’t view winning as the only way to measure the tenacity of a team.

“Does playing well and winning build confidence? Well, sure it does, but what should build more confidence is finding a way through a difficult match even when you aren’t playing your best,” Rodecap said. “You cannot guarantee from match to match how you are going to feel, how your body is going to react or how your timing on the court will be, but you can always fall back (on how well you compete).”

For Rodecap there was no better match for his team to have to fight through than its last contest of the regular season against DePaul, when the Golden Eagles overcame a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 on the road.

Last season the men were able to reach the finals of the BIG EAST tournament before falling to St. John’s.

“We’ll have two guys out there that have not experienced the BIG EAST Tournament before,” Rodecap said. “What we did last year will help us because we have guys that remember that and know what it feels like. The bottom line is that this sport is too fickle. You have to be ready on any given day. Our guys have done well in the preparation, and we are optimistic that it will pay off for us.”

In singles action, the Golden Eagles will be counting on freshmen Alvaro Verdu and Greg Anderson to help secure key points. Verdu finished the season leading the team with 15 singles wins and on a seven-match win streak, while Anderson enters the tournament having won seven of his eight previous matches.

The men’s team will open the tournament Friday against No. 7 Creighton.

The women’s team will play as the fifth seed in the tournament. The Golden Eagles get a first round bye and will begin play Friday against No. 4 Georgetown. The winner of the match will go on to play either No. 1 DePaul or No. 8 Creighton.

“We have played so many close matches this year and have been competitive in just about every match, so we feel very strong heading into this weekend’s championship,” women’s head coach Jody Bronson told GoMarquette.com. “I think we have a great opportunity to play hard, compete well and bring a championship home to Marquette.”

At first doubles the Golden Eagles will be counting on Erin Gebes and Silvia Ambrosio who amassed an 11-4 record this season. In singles Marquette is hoping that the dominant play of Paula Tormos Sanchez will continue. Tormos Sanchez finished this year with a 13-6 record.

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