Women’s tennis picks up four wins, momentum

The Butler women’s tennis team will enter its Saturday match on a five-match winning streak after capturing four wins in five days.

Two of those wins were against schools the Bulldogs (5-3) had never defeated before.

Xavier (4-6) was one of those foes, and the Musketeers fell 5-2 on Feb. 23.

“This match definitely means a lot,” senior Gabriela Bobrowski said. “After our start to the season, we can definitely tell that things are starting to come together.”

Two days later, the team found itself facing another opponent Butler had never beaten, the Redbirds of Illinois State (2-4).

Things were difficult in the beginning for the Bulldogs when Bobrowski and sophomore Brittany Farmer lost their matches’ first sets.

However, neither was willing to give up. Each battled back to win their matches and help guide the Bulldogs to a 5-2 win.

“I recognized at the beginning of the year that things were just not clicking,” head coach Jason Suscha said. “We’d come close in every one of our matches, but we just couldn’t get everything to work at the same time.

“With a couple wins under our belt, I can definitely see all of the gears starting to turn at once.”

The Bulldogs headed home with  momentum and played Suscha’s alma mater, the Evansville Purple Aces (6-3), the next day.

The match started with a tightly-contested set of doubles duels.

Butler’s freshmen duo of Gabrielle Rubenstein and Stephanie McLoughlin dropped a close match at No. 1 doubles.

But, the Bulldogs clinched the doubles point thanks to a No. 2 doubles win by Bobrowski and Farmer and a No. 3 doubles win by senior Natali Jaimes and freshman Caroline Hedrick.

Hedrick came back after her doubles win to provide the Bulldogs with yet another key performance.

After dropping her first set, 6-0, she rolled past Evansville junior Dora Kotsiou, 6-2, 6-0, in the final two sets of the No. 2 singles match.

Her win provided Butler with its third consecutive 5-2 victory.

Bobrowski said fatigue could strike them at any moment, due to playing so many matches on consecutive days.

“[Suscha] was saying that even if we didn’t feel it, we would eventually get fatigued,” she said. “We definitely couldn’t afford to make mistakes and do any more work than we needed.

“I think that helped us against Evansville, and even more so against Dayton.”

Butler completed a 4-0 week with a 6-1 victory against Dayton (2-5) on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs, as they had done throughout the week, started by winning the doubles point.

Butler then won five of six singles matches, with four of the victories coming in straight sets to seal the undefeated weekend.

Butler’s three freshmen—Hedrick at No. 2 singles, McLoughlin at No. 3 and Rubenstein at No. 5—each posted convincing wins. Bobrowski also won easily at No. 4 singles, and Farmer won in three sets at the No. 6 spot.

The Bulldogs’ schedule continues versus DePaul Saturday and Ball State Sunday.

“After this past week, I feel like the team is prepared to face those top caliber teams on our schedule,” Suscha said.

“Whether it be DePaul, Ball State or Georgia, I believe we’ll be ready for them with a greater sense of confidence.”

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