Road games pose threat to win streak
The Rutgers tennis team became a traveling show of late.
The Scarlet Knights (3-1,0-1) were all over the place last weekend, journeying to Bethlehem, Pa., and College Park, Md., for matches against Lehigh and Maryland, respectively. The team picked up wins in both contests and returned to Piscataway on a three-game winning streak. RU looks to extend their streak to five with two more challenging road matches this weekend. Unbeaten in February, the Knights try to keep momentum on their side when they face Binghamton on Saturday and Cornell on Sunday.
Each of the matches take place in Ithaca, N.Y., and, according to assistant coach Alex Arlak, RU should expect them to be highly competitive. "We haven't played these teams in years, so we don't really know exactly what to expect from them stylistically," Arlak said. "We just need to continue to focus and play well because they are both tough opponents and present a big challenge." Coming off two hard-fought road matches, including a thrilling one-point victory over Maryland, the Knights have confidence on their side.
Freshman singles player Michelle Green believes her squad can embrace the challenge of another tough road trip. "We'll have to be physically and mentally ready for both matches," Green said. "I think this team is prepared for it. It's good to have a few wins in a row to back us up. We know how well we can play and hopefully we can keep it up." Two formidable opponents stand in their way. Binghamton has already earned two shutout wins this spring, blanking both Sacred Heart and Seton Hall.
Cornell took down Columbia on Sunday in the team's most recent match. Besides taking on two talented rosters, RU also has to adjust to life on the road and become acclimated with a different court. "Playing on the road is a tough task and it's important to play with confidence when you're away from home," Arlak said. "It's really advantageous that we have won a few in a row and feel good about our team." If the Knights claim two more victories on the road this weekend, the team can improve to 5-1, with three consecutive home matches on tab.
RU sets itself up very nicely for the remainder of the season if they can maintain its level of play. "It would mean a lot to pick up two wins. We would be very happy and it would be great for Rutgers tennis," Green said. "This program has been improving and winning both matches this weekend would be a big step for us."