Golden Eagles Count on Experience to Shine in 2009-10
Sept. 17, 2009
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette women's tennis squad returns an experienced lineup to the courts, losing just one senior to graduation and returning eight student-athletes from a 17-10 team in the 2008-09 season.
Head coach Jody Bronson, who enters her 25th season as had coach, returns three singles players who tallied double-digit wins, along with two other players with winning singles records. After appearing in the ITA rankings as high as No. 69, the Golden Eagles hope their chemistry and hard work will lead to wins and national recognition.
"One of the things that is going to help us excel is our chemistry," said Bronson. "It is a real motivator because they're all into helping each other become bette players and make the team better. Our strength is probably going to be more of our singles play than our doubles play, at least initially. I think we'll spend a lot of time trying to elevate our doubles a little bit more."
The Golden Eagles will look to improve on their individual games in the fall season before attempting to tackle squad goals in the spring. Crucial to achieving team goals will be a consistent effort throughout the season, as well as hopes of staying injury-free.
"For the dual season, we have set a goal of winning the BIG EAST Tournament, being ranked, beating the teams we had 4-3 matches with last year that we came up on the short end," said Bronson. "We have to be injury free. Our success will depend on how high of a level we can continue to practice at and push each other on a daily basis. I really believe the learning process is at practice, so as much as we can do on the court at practice is what should carry over in our matches."
Senior returnees Kylie Moore, Elly Strother and Maggie Wilson will be looked to for a leadership role in the fall and spring seasons. Moore and Strother tallied eight overall single wins apiece, while Wilson added five for the Golden Eagles.
"We have a very good base for our leadership, not just on the court but off the court. They are very focused and are really into the whole team and making them be as good as they can be, on and off the court. Apart from the seniors, so many of our kids are really good leaders and that's going to make a huge difference this year. It's not just going to come from two or three players, but it will be shown by seven, eight or nine of them."
"Kylie seems to be motivated to really make this her best year, knowing that it is going to be her last year," said Bronson of Moore, who sat out her sophomore year due to injury. "She probably has the most innate talent to do everything of everyone on the team. She just has to be able to put it all together and make it work for her in the matches."
"Elly Strother is somebody who just brings a tremendous amount of fight, energy and love of the game to every practice. She works extremely hard and whoever is on the court with her on a daily basis gets a great workout," said Bronson. "Maggie Wilson is a very good, smart doubles player. She is very competitive and an extremely hard worker. She is a great leader and I think that she really has the capability of rallying the team."
Juniors Rachael Hush and Christina Ruiz return following two successful collegiate seasons. As freshmen, the pair posted the two highest overall singles wins on the tea. Last season, the duo combined for 12 singles victories and 35 doubles wins with various partners. Hush, who battled injuries last season, has tallied 27 overall singles wins during her career, while Ruiz is close behind with 24.
"Rachael Hush put in a lot of time this summer, both when she was at summer school and when she went home," said Bronson. "She was very focused on the things she could do to help the team and help herself. She is really going to be ready to go."
"Christina Ruiz is probably one of our top two doubles players. She has got all the shots, she knows the doubles game very well, likes to be at the net, likes to be really aggressive. She has set some really good goals and I really think she is going to have a breakout year this year," said Bronson.
Sophomore class of Paola Calderon, Gillian Hush and Olga Fischer, who each made a major impact on the squad in their rookie seasons return to bolster MU lineup, especially at the top of the order in singles play. The trio combined for 44 overall singles wins, 37 in the dual season, where Calderon played primarily at No. 1 and Fischer at No. 2. With a year of experience in the books, each player is poised to continue her impact on Marquette.
"Paola Calderon will improve her game a little more so she has more versatility, because when you play in a top spot you have to be able to do some different things in order to be successful. I think she's ready to be a positive leader this year and commit herself to being as good a player as she can be. I think she'll have an opportunity to lead the team," said Bronson.
"We're counting on Olga Fischer to build on last season," said Bronson. "She's someone else who is very focused, wants to do very well and wants to get better. I think that she'll work really hard to try to make her weaknesses her strengths and try to build on that. She has also been a great example to the team as far as being a leader and working hard."
"Gillian Hush played doubles for us all year," said Bronson, referring to Hush's 23 doubles victories last season, including a 14-5 spring record with sister Rachael. "She really wants to crack that lineup and I think she's going to be right in there fighting. She is also somebody who brings it everyday, and shows you leadership qualities and how badly she wants the team to do well. A lot of the ladies are just very selfless that way, and they just really want what is best for the team.
The Golden Eagles also welcome two incoming players in Kelly Barry and Chantel Newman. Barry, a native of Elmhurst, Ill., was selected as her high school team's MVP three consecutive years as she departed York Community High School as the winningest singles player in school history. Newman joins the squad as a walk-on after a top-10 ranking in Wisconsin her senior year at Thomas More High School.
"The thing I love most about Kelly Barry is that ever since she committed to coming to Marquette last year, she's been playing tournaments every month up until she came to Marquette. Kelly loves to play tennis," said Bronson. "She has gotten better than when we signed her and I think she's going to continue to get better because she works so hard, she wants it so badly. She's going to be someone who is very coachable and will also show great leadership qualities."
"Chantel Newman is going to bring work ethic to this team, said Bronson. "I know that she committed herself, she worked very hard, and she was a leader on her high school team. I expect that she is going to be able to get a lot better for the amount of time she's going to be putting in."
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