Marquette’s men’s tennis team took the court on Saturday in Urbana, Illinois to open their first NCAA tournament appearance. The appearance was short lived as the Golden Eagles fell to the Fighting Illini of Illinois in a 4-0 sweep.
Coming off the first Big East championship in program history, the Golden Eagles had high hopes coming into their first NCAA tournament appearance. The team received an automatic bid to go play Illinois on their home court and the Fighting Illini used it to their advantage. Illinois took the doubles point as they won 6-3 and 6-1 on courts two and three. Marquette pushed games on courts one and two before ultimately dropping both games.
Singles play was not much better for the Golden Eagles as Luis Heredia Gomez lost 6-0 and 6-3 followed by Brett Meyers losing 6-0 and 6-1 and finally Brandon Shanklin losing 6-0 and 6-3. I don’t want to make it seem like it was all their fault, as MU was trailing in the other three singles matches when play was suspended due to Illinois reaching four points first. Illinois proved why they were the ninth best team in the country and they advance to a Sunday contest against Vanderbilt.
Marquette loses only one senior in Scott Christian, but returns all of their starters for next season. It is quite possible we could see the Golden Eagles back in the NCAA Tournament next season, and this could just be a stepping stone for MU as well. Three of the Golden Eagles that played on Saturday are either freshmen or sophomores, so good things are on the way for sure.