The men’s tennis team finished its season strong after earning its first conference victory with a 4-3 win over St. John’s on Friday. On Saturday, the Bulls hopes for advancing to the NCAA Tournament ended with a 4-0 loss to Notre Dame.
The Bulls then earned a third-place finish after a 4-1 victory in Sunday’s match against Marquette.
Coach Don Barr was impressed with his team’s ability to close out the win over Marquette. The two teams last faced each other on April 13, when the Bulls jumped to a quick 3-0 lead. Marquette then staged a furious comeback and took the match 4-3.
“We knew that (Marquette) will battle to the end,” Barr said. “The biggest difference today was we never relaxed after getting the lead. We didn’t get behind today and closed out the matches.”
Mark Gattiker played in the Big East Tournament despite shoulder problems. The injury forced him to serve underhand and side arm instead of the traditional overhand style. Gattiker was still able to win the game-tying match against St. John’s, and on Sunday, he clinched the match with his 7-5, 7-6 victory over Marquette’s Brett Binkley.
“I really didn’t change my play too much, just took it one point at a time,” Gattiker said. “We needed everyone to give it their all to have any shot in the tournament, and with the season winding down, I had to play.”
Barr praised the play of Gattiker and felt his play set the tone for the team during the Big East Tournament.
“Mark did a great job; he couldn’t lift his arm above his shoulder but still found a way to win,” Barr said. He showed a lot of character today, and his wins ended up being the difference for us this weekend.”
The Bulls finished their disappointing season with a 5-14 record, but Barr was satisfied with his teams’ performance in the conference tournament.
“We had a trying season this year with a lot of adversity,” Barr said. “We came into this tournament and battled. We could have rolled over and quit, but our guys fought hard at the end of the year.”