The Bluejay women’s tennis team competed in the Big East Championship last week, facing Providence and Villanova.

Going into the tournament 9-5, the Jays posted a 4-0 win over Providence before falling to Villanova 4-0 the next day to end the season.

Coach Tom Lilly saw a shift in his team’s play from Thursday to Friday which resulted in the loss.

“I thought we competed well, we just didn’t play as well against Villanova as we needed,” Lilly said. “I don’t even know that we played all that great against Providence but were just the stronger team ... so our talent took over that match and was good enough to win on that day.”

Entering as the No. 6 seed, the Jays started the tournament with a key doubles point before earning wins at three, four and six in singles.

Freshman Malvika Shukla, senior Joanna Nowakowska and junior Meredith Benson each recorded two-set victories on the day.

Lilly saw a toughness from Providence in the match and noted his group had to overcome challenges to seal the first win.

It was a different story in Friday’s match against the third-seeded Wildcats, where Lilly noted dropping a few points that could’ve swung the momentum of some matches.

Losing the doubles point, the Bluejays also fell at flights one, two and six to decide the match, leaving the remaining unfinished.

This sports season brought a lot of adversity to a lot of teams, Creighton included. Lilly explained the team had to leave one player behind because of COVID protocol.

“Not that we didn’t have capable players, but to leave one of our top players in single and doubles behind was going to make it a little bit tougher for sure,” he said.

As the season ended, Lilly mentioned how impressed he was with Shukla over the course of the season. She recorded a perfect record in the singles category her first semester on the team.

“She just kept winning and kept doing well and kept moving up the lineup and her doubles has improved a lot, so I would say she’s probably the one that I’m looking forward for the next three years and stepping up and playing an even bigger role next year,” Lilly said.

The Bluejays are set to return a handful of key players from this year next season.

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