Slatnick ousted in finals in last event of fall season
The Rutgers tennis team ended its fall season yesterday with a strong performance at the USTA Invitational in Queens.
Out of the 36 combined singles and doubles matches, the Scarlet Knights went 22-14 on the weekend with five players advancing to semi-final rounds, one of whom made it as far as the finals.
After getting off to a bit of a late start this season due to injury, sophomore Leonora Slatnick was the only Knight to reach the finals in a singles round flight, but fell to senior Emily Ellis of Brown 6-4, 6-1.
"It felt good, especially since I've been working hard this summer and then I got injured at the beginning of the year, so that was a setback," Slatnick said. "I really didn't even think I was going to play at the USTA at first."
Junior Amy Zhang and sophomore Jennifer Holzberg continued their doubles success from last week and made it to the semifinals in their doubles flight.
Despite the fact that they lost 8-6, head coach Ben Bucca liked what he saw from the duo.
"What this tournament did for Jennifer and Amy was lay the foundation for them to have confidence going into the regional championships, which are two weeks away," Bucca said.
Zhang also made it to the semifinals in Flight A Singles but lost to Columbia freshman Nicole Bartnik 6-0, 6-4.
After being ill for the past few weeks, freshman Michelle Green made a lasting impression this weekend as she made it to the semifinals in Flight H Singles.
"I was happy for Michelle to just be able to be playing on the court because she basically missed our competition at the Brown Invitational, missed a few weeks of practice and only practiced for one week leading up to the USTA Invitational," Bucca said.
Even though she, like Slatnick, lost to Brown's Ellis 6-0, 6-4, senior Caitlin Baker thought Green's run was nothing short of impressive.
"Michelle was aggressive. She really pulled it together for the matches, and she didn't even play at Brown so she really came through for us," Baker said.
Senior Christine Tran defeated Seton Hall sophomore Courtney Kilarski 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Flight D Singles second consolations.
Other notable performances from this weekend's Invitational include a win by sophomore Maryana Milchutskey 6-3, 6-3 in the Flight F Singles consolation, a win by senior Katherine Arlak in the Flight E Singles consolation and a win from the doubles team of Arlak and sophomore Morgan Ivey in the doubles Flight B consolation.
Overall, Bucca saw the Knights' performance as a motivating experience that shows just how talented they are.
"Ultimately, what this demonstrates is that we are solidifying ourselves as one of the top teams in the region," he said.
Baker was also proud of the way the Knights came out and played, and hopes that the spirit of the team carries over into the spring.
"I hope that we just keep our overall fighting spirit with us and just come and take it to Syracuse with our first match of the spring, because we know that's going to be tough," she said.