May 25, 2019 | 69° F

Regular season starts after last week’s scrimmage

After a successful scrimmage last week, the Rutgers women’s tennis team is finally ready to officially start its season this weekend at the Brown Invitational in Providence, R.I.

The Scarlet Knights found plenty of success last year at the same event, returning to Piscataway with an impressive total of 14 wins, good for second best that weekend.

But this year’s competition shapes up to be a very difficult couple of days for the Knights and head coach Ben Bucca.

“There are seven teams this year in the Brown Invitational,” Bucca said. “Out of those seven, six of them ended last year ranked in their region, including us. All of them are very strong schools”

The teams the Knights face this week include three very tough Ivy League schools: Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth. The Knights also go toe-to-toe with Boston University, Boston College and Binghamton.

The Knights’ scrimmage against NJIT last week allowed Bucca and the team to improve some of the weaker parts of its game before this weekend’s big event. After weeks of preparation, the Knights are now ready to step up and make an immediate impact once the season kicks off.

“In order to win, we just have to play really disciplined tennis.” Bucca said. “Your match play is all about confidence and the way you feel both mentally and emotionally. We had a very good week of practice, and we want to implement some of the strategies that we worked on in those practices.”

Even with all the time the Knights already spent on the court this season, going out and playing an official match is always a different adjustment.

The senior leaders on the team plan to make this season their best, as well as their most memorable.

They teach the three new freshmen additions Rutgers’ style of play and what the Knights need to accomplish in order to compete for a Big East title.

Winning this weekend in Providence will certainly go a long way in turning those dreams into reality and turning those hours of practice into success.

Bucca and the team are ready for a demanding weekend, but no one on the team doubts them for a second, especially with the Knights’ senior leadership and strong competitive spirit.

But Bucca, who enters his ninth season as head coach, knows one other constantly overlooked strategy, but it is as important to the team’s success.

“We just want to go out there and have a good time.” Bucca said. “The competition’s going be great. Providence is a great city, and we’re excited to go out there and compete at a high level — just a fun weekend all around.”

By T.J. Nagy

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