July 18, 2018 | ° F

Knights battle Army at Red Alert

The Rutgers tennis team welcomes Army to Piscataway this Sunday for an afternoon matchup. The Scarlet Knights (4-3, 1-1) host the Black Knights (7-5), looking to build momentum as spring break approaches.

RU comes off an impressive 7-0 win last Thursday over Big East foe Georgetown. The victory over the Hoyas was the Knights' first in the conference this season. It's crucial for the team to carry over the sharp play it displayed last week, said freshman Michelle Green.

"We just enjoyed a really good win against Georgetown. Another win would continue to boost our confidence," Green said. "We want to continue to win heading into spring break."

Junior Jen Holzberg believes the key to sustained success is for RU to continue their effort while preparing for matches.

"We need to keep doing what we've been doing recently," said assistant coach Alex Arlak. "The most important things are practicing hard and focusing on details. If we can do that, we'll keep getting better."

Army comes into town riding a two-game winning streak and fresh off a 5-2 win over St. John's on Sunday in West Point, N.Y. The Scarlet Knights will counter the Black Knights' attack with a deep lineup that receives solid contributions from top to bottom.

Depth is a strong suit for RU this season. Arlak believes the well-balanced lineup continues to serve the Knights well.

"All the girls play at a pretty high level. There are no gaps in the lineup. From No. 1 to No. 6 singles, there isn't too much of a drop off," Arlak said. "They are a talented group and no one stands out too much over their teammates."

"Our lineup is really strong this spring," Green said. "We have the right players at the right positions and we have a diverse mix of playing styles and that definitely adds to our depth and makes us a better team."

The even distribution of talent on its roster makes RU a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the spring.

"Everyone has done their part and consistently stepped up to contribute this season so far," Holzberg added. "It's important to play like that."

The Knights are excited to open the month of March within the comforts of the Rutgers Tennis Complex. Sunday's match also marks the first Red Alert contest for the tennis program and the team expects increased supporters to watch them take on Army.

"It's great to play at home when there are family and friends supporting and cheering on the team," Arlak said. "I think the girls feel more comfortable playing at home and they play better."

Holzberg said RU is amped in anticipation of Sunday's 2:30 contest.

"Having the home court advantage is very important to us," Holzberg said. "Plus, Sunday will be our first Red Alert, so we're excited to get out on the court and play well in front of our fans."

Tyler Donohue

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