When leveling if you start running into too hard of ships, you will want to drop down some ranks to easier targets.
Method for this is to have the heavy/light fighter in one of your ship slots.
Step 1, use heavy fighter to lose a number of matches until you get to a rank range where your main ship (say therion) can win against other ships 100% of the time (facing same-1-2 lower level ships).
Step 2, win one with main ship, lose one with heavy fighter.
This way you won’t have downtime on your main ship which means no xp gain. As you level up and get a higher level ship, you can raise the ranking some and repeat the steps.