DePaul Nips Marquette on Senior Day
CHICAGO - It all came down to the number four singles match and on Senior Day, but it was the freshman Mathias Hambach who pushed DePaul to an exhilarating 4-3 win over Marquette on Saturday at the Lakeshore Athletic Club.
In one of the closest matches of the season, the Blue Demons and Golden Eagles battled for every point as long rallies, powerful serves and tense tiebreakers highlighted the nearly four and a half hour match.
"Well deserved win today," head coach Matt Brothers said with a smile. "The guys had their backs against the wall after losing the doubles point and we knew it would take group effort to win today's match. The guys came out and wanted it more; they got it done and got the win"
Marquette (16-5, 0-1 BIG EAST) won the doubles point but it did not come easy. The Blue Demon pair of Vanja Grgec and Hambach got the match started with an 8-4 win over Mark Rutherford and Jonathan Schwerin in the number one spot.
The Golden Eagles quickly knotted the score with a win in the second position before the focus turned to the third court where Douglas Perrin and Alasdair Graetz were locked in a battle with Otavio Perim and Jose Carlos Gutierrez.
The third doubles match was exciting as the two teams traded points and long volleys, but it was the Marquette pair who prevailed 9-8 (1) to take a 1-0 lead into singles play.
Marquette took a 2-0 lead with a win in the second position, but Perrin would put DePaul on the board on court six. The sophomore dominated Gutierrez and picked up his third consecutive win with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Matija Palinic evened the score at two with a powerful 6-3, 6-4 win in the third position.
As cheers from the third court echoed throughout, Medan and Graetz finished a three-set battle which saw Marquette take a 3-2 advantage and brought the Golden Eagles to the brink of victory.
Grgec, who was looking to put an exclamation point on his senior day, would not let Marquette spoil the Blue Demon celebration. The senior won the first set 7-6 (8) and took the second set 6-3 to even the dual score at three.
As Hambach and Otavio Perim settled into the third set, each point resulted in a raucous cheer by those in the grandstand and the student-athletes watching courtside. Up 6-5, Hambach broke Perim serve and DePaul celebrated with elation as it had topped its arch rival.
"Mathias does not hold back and he goes after every point," Brothers commented on his freshman's performance. "He takes his chances and therefore has nothing to regret win or lose. He does not wait for his opponent to give it to him, he earns every point."
The men's win completed a DePaul tennis sweep over Marquette on Saturday -- the women defeated the Golden Eagles 6-1 earlier in the day on a neutral court but arrived at Lakeshore just in time to enjoy the celebration.
The Blue Demons await the BIG EAST Championship pairings which will be announced on Monday. The league championship is scheduled for April 22-25 at Notre Dame's Courtney Tennis Stadium.
DePaul 4, Marquette 3