Marquette To Play For BIG EAST Title
April 25, 2015
The Marquette University men's tennis team (14-9) will play for its first-ever BIG EAST Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon after the squad downed Georgetown (9-10) 4-0 in the semifinals of the league tournament Saturday at West Indy Racquet Club.
MU, which is seeded second in the eight-team field, will face top seed St. John's Sunday afternoon at the Barbara S. Wynne Tennis Center at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind. First serve for the championship match will be determined by the league office Saturday evening. St. John's downed Xavier 4-1 in the first semifinal matchup.
"We have played two incredibly tough teams in Creighton and Georgetown," head coach Steve Rodecap said. "Fortunately, our guys have responded on both occasions and we have been able to survive and advance."
The Golden Eagles opened the match by narrowly claiming the doubles point. With each of the matches within one game midway through action, MU pulled ahead at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots and held on for the wins. Sophomore Kristiyan Trukov and freshman Andre Romanello were the first to finish, posting an 8-5 decision at No. 3.
Sophomore Mackenzie Stearns and junior Daniel Fernandez clinched the point in thrilling fashion in their 8-5 victory. With Georgetown serving, Fernandez was forced to return the serve between his legs after the ball scraped the tape on the first serve. The Hoyas were able to return his shot, but Fernandez anticipated the location and calmly placed the ball inside the line for the winner.
Sophomore Nick Dykema was down early in his first set before rallying for a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles to push MU ahead 2-0 and senior Cameron Tehrani quickly followed with a 6-4, 6-0 victory at the No. 6 spot.
"Nick did a great job of turning his match around and Cam got off the court quick for the second-straight day," Rodecap said. "We were able to keep the momentum going from doubles and that was critical."
The deciding fourth point proved to be elusive for the Golden Eagles, but Fernandez and senior Vukasin Teofanovic gave Marquette two opportunities to claim it. Fernandez was up 5-0 in his third set, but Teofanovic was able to play the role of hero at No. 2, rallying for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 decision. The Novi Sad, Serbia, native trailed 4-3 in the third, but was able to break back and serve out for the win.
"Vuk found a way to grind it out, something he has been doing his entire career," Rodecap said. "We are now in uncharted territory playing for our first title, but I know our guys will be ready for the challenge."
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