The women’s tennis team fell in the Big East Tournament Championship match, snapping a record-setting 20-match win streak and ending a 22-win season.
The win total is tied for the most in program history — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2003-04. The team closed out the season winning 20 of its final 21 matches.
Xavier’s first match of the tournament (as the No. 1 seed) came against eighth seeded Georgetown. The doubles team of freshman Emily Thomas and sophomore Ahmeir Kyle won their match 6-2.
Junior Rachael Reichenbach and freshman Hunter Roper finished off the doubles point for Xavier, winning their match 6-4 and giving Xavier a 1-0 advantage heading into the singles stage.
Kyle won the first singles match in two sets, 6-3, 7-5 to put Xavier up 2-0. Roper put Xavier up 3-0 next, winning her match 6-1, 6-3. Reichenbach was unable to win her singles match, losing 3-6, 0-6, but Thomas finished the match for Xavier, winning 6-4, 6-0 to clinch the victory, 4-1.
Xavier then took on fourth seeded St. John’s in the semifinals. Reichenbach and Roper won the first doubles match 6-2. The other two doubles teams of Thomas and Kyle and senior Sophia Abelson and sophomore Kaitlin Ruether lost 1-6 and 4-6, respectively. The losses gave St. John’s the doubles point and a 1-0 lead heading into the singles matches.
Ruether got Xavier on the board, winning her singles match 6-0, 6-2 to tie it up 1-1. Abelson then won her singles match 6-4, 6-3 to put Xavier up 2-1.
Roper was unable to pull out a win in her match, losing 3-6, 6-2, 2-6 in three sets to tie the match back up at 2-2.
Reichenbach was able to win 7-5, 6-3 to put Xavier back on top, but a three set loss by Kyle, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, tied it up at 3-3 with one match left to finish.
It went three sets, but Thomas was able to pull out the win, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, to seal a 4-3 win and a spot in the tournament finals for Xavier.
Xavier faced No. 2 seed DePaul in the finals. Similar to St. John’s, the Musketeers won the first doubles match but lost the next two as DePaul took the doubles point.
Kyle and Thomas won their second doubles match in three tries at the Big East tournament, 6-2.
However, Reichenbach and Roper and Abelson and Ruether both lost their matches 2-6. Kyle was unable to get a win in her singles match, 2-6, 2-6, and DePaul went up 2-0. Reichenbach also lost her singles match, 2-6, 3-6, putting DePaul up 3-0.
Then, Xavier made a comeback. Ruether, Roper and Abelson were all able to win their matches and tie it at 3-3.
Ruther won 6-4, 7-6; Roper won 6-3, 4-6, 6-0; and Abelson won 6-3, 5-7, 6-0.
Thomas was able to push her match to three sets but ultimately lost 7-5, 5-7, 3-6.
Despite being on the losing end of the championship, the Musketeers etched their names into women’s tennis history with their outstanding perforamnces throughout the 2018-19 season.
By: Donnie Menke | Staff Writer