Marquette Makes NCAA Debut Saturday vs. No. 9 Illinois
May 8, 2018
The Marquette University men’s tennis team (17-6) will face No. 9 Illinois (21-7) in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships on Saturday, May 12 in Urbana, Ill. First serve is set for 3 p.m. CT at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex and the winner will advance to face the Vanderbilt/Drake winner on Sunday, May 13 at 2 p.m. CT.
Marquette Claims First BIG EAST Title
Marquette earned its first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships as a team courtesy of its title run at the BIG EAST Tournament, which secured the league’s automatic bid to the field.
Despite dropping the doubles point in all three matches, the Golden Eagles were able to rally for wins over Creighton (4-1), St. John’s (4-2) and DePaul (4-1) en route to the championship. While the squad struggled in doubles action, the team’s depth was on display in singles play. Every member of the lineup contributed at least one victory on the weekend, highlighed by perfect 3-0 marks from junior Alvaro Verdu (No. 1) and sophomore Brandon Shanklin (No. 6)
The Golden Eagles had advanced to the BIG EAST tourney championship match in each of the previous three seasons (2015-17).
Marquette Claims BIG EAST Hardware
MU was well represented on the league’s all-tournament rosters, highlighted by Player of the Year accolades for junior Alvaro Verdu and Coaching Staff of the Year honors.
Verdu also earned a spot on the BIG EAST First Team (all-conference each of his three seasons) and was joined on the six-member squad by sophomore Luke Smrek (2016-17 Freshman of the Year). Freshman Luis Heredia Gomez, a candidate for newcomer of the year, was tabbed BIG EAST Second Team and MU’s coaching staff of Steve Rodecap, Jud Shaufler and Vukasin Teofanovic was also recognized.
Verdu Named Top Player At BIG EAST Tourney
Junior Alvaro Verdu was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2018 BIG EAST Tournament after leading Marquette to the title.
The Elda, Spain, native posted a trio of wins for Marquette at No. 1 singles, including the title-clinching point in the 4-1 victory over DePaul. Verdu downed the Blue Demons’ Boris Spanjaard 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 and also earned straight-set decisions over Creighton and St. John’s on the weekend.
Verdu also teamed up with sophomore Brett Meyers for a 6-2 win over Creighton in doubles.
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