July 19, 2018 | ° F

RU sends three reps to Champs

As its fall season play comes to an end, the Rutgers tennis team now looks forward to today's ITA Regional Championships.

The Scarlet Knights have three players in juniors Jennifer Holzberg and Maryana Milchutskey, as well as senior Amy Zhang, who qualified for the prestigious tournament. With the major event come new challenges — most significantly the indoor format that Rutgers rarely saw throughout the season.

To prepare for this new obstacle, the Knights made a stop before regionals at their first indoor scrimmage of the season at Columbia.

Although Rutgers won only two out of the five matches played, head coach Ben Bucca saw the tournament as an important stepping stone on the way to regionals.

"The Columbia match was very informal. It was more to get us into hard, competitive play than anything else," Bucca said. "It did two things: It prepared us for the strong indoor play we are going to see in regionals, as well as the very challenging match against Columbia we will have during the team portion of our season."

As for the actual tournament, Bucca is completely confident in his players' abilities both to play the game and overcome the change in surroundings.

"We are going in with high expectations and a clear vision on winning the tournament," Bucca said. "We have already competed against the best teams in our region and done exceptionally well, and we know we are more than capable in both singles and doubles."

The three girls who qualified for postseason play share their coach's enthusiasm and confidence in their ability to take the tournament home. No stranger to playing in the postseason, Zhang is confident in both her own and her teammates' capability to win a championship.

"This will be my fourth year and I'm happy to be going in with Jen and Maryana — we play well together," Zhang said. "The biggest pressure is being indoors, which will make it a lot faster, but tennis-wise I am prepared."

Zhang and Holzberg partner to form one of the top-ranked doubles teams in the tournament. Holzberg has high hopes with her partner and in the singles competition.

"I really want to play well. I want to beat good teams in doubles and good players in singles," Holzberg said. "It's tough to make it into regionals and just to qualify is good, and now I'm ready to play."

Starting today, Holzberg and her teammates get the chance to show just how ready they are.

Vinnie Mancuso

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