Women’s tennis started their conference season Saturday in a loss to Marquette in Milwaukee in a 6-1 defeat.

The loss dropped the Bluejays to a 4-4 record while Marquette improved to 4-5.

The doubles point went to the Golden Eagles with two wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. But the duo of freshman Kate Krueger and sophomore Sarah Wilcox pulled off a tight 7-5 victory at the No. 1 doubles position over Marquette’s Natalija Popovic and Fleur Eggink.

Junior Erin Epperson grabbed the only win of the day for the Bluejays. In straight sets Epperson delivered a 6-4, 6-3 outcome over Giulia Turconi at the No. 4 singles spot.

Krueger battled in her match at the top position as she pushed into a third set of play. Despite a first-set win,Krueger fell to Eggink 6-4, 1-6, 3-10 in the only three-set match of the day. The Golden Eagles took the rest of the singles matches with wider margins as the Bluejays couldn’t remain close.

“We struggled at times today with the pace and Marquette played a strong match throughout,” coach Tom Lilly said.

This was the team’s first matchup against a conference opponent this season and is one of only a few opportunities to build a conference record before April’s conference tournament.

“We need to improve to take that next step in beating a top team in our conference. We will work on that starting next practice,” Lilly said.

The Bluejays secured a win on default for an originally scheduled Sunday match against Western Illinois because of injuries on the Leathernecks’ team. The win improves the Bluejays to 5-4 on the season as they return home for two matches this weekend.

The Jays face UNO tonight followed by Northern Colorado Saturday afternoon. Following the weekend the team will have a week off before heading to Orlando to play in four matches the week of March 9-12. Two of those matches will be against Big East competitors.

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