Pair of S.C. schools prove too much for Rutgers in defeats
While senior captain Morgan Ivey was returned to her hometown to compete last week during spring break, the Rutgers tennis team did not feel the same welcome, going 1-2 in its three-game road trip to South Carolina.
The Scarlet Knights sandwiched a 5-2 victory against Boston University between losses to the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern.
One of the main factors that played into the Knights’ performance was the fact that they competed on outside court in warm conditions. Rutgers usually plays its matches indoors because of the cold weather, but had to adjust to the way the ball traveled outside.
“Outdoor tennis is much more physical,” Ivey said. “You have longer points and can’t hit the ball as easily. It’s much more about footwork because you have sun and wind that affects the bounce of the ball and everything.”
The Knights struggled the most during their third match of the week. Rutgers did not score a single victory, resulting in a 7-0 defeat against Charleston Southern.
The Bucs (8-2) took all three wins in doubles and did not drop a single set in singles competition.
The Knights’ (6-6) first match against the College of Charleston came in a different format. With the Cougars participating in two separate matches that day and Rutgers playing Boston the following morning, both teams played one doubles match and four singles matches.
The change resulted in a 4-1 loss for the Knights, who only secured a singles match victory from sophomore Vanessa Petrini. Petrini took her match against Caroline Newman, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5).
Senior Jennifer Holzberg did not find success in her No. 1 singles match, losing, 6-2, 6-0, against Christin Newman. Sophomore Stephanie Balasa and freshman Noor Judeh also suffered straight-set defeats.
The lone doubles match did not favor Rutgers, either. Ivey and freshman Lindsay Balsamo lost to the duo of Irene Viana and Samantha Maddox, 6-1, 6-2.
“I’m not really sure [the alternate format] benefited us against them because they didn’t have to alternate their lineup against us,” Ivey said. “We sacrificed a few singles positions and didn’t have our top doubles team playing.”
With the Knights returning to their regular three doubles, six singles match format their next matchup, doubles play came up strong against the Terriers. All three Rutgers doubles squads won.
“I think we definitely had another breakthrough with doubles,” Ivey said. “Against BU, we played some of our best doubles yet.”
Rutgers fared well against Boston (4-6) in singles, as well, dropping only two games in the match. Balasa, Balsamo, Ivey and Petrini all came away with straight set victories.
While the results of last week’s spring break trip were not what the team looked for in Ivey’s hometown return, the captain knows it was important for her and the rest of the team to get used to outdoor play. The Knights play outside from now on, beginning Thursday against Big East opponent Villanova.
“When we transition from indoor to outdoor tennis, it’s an entirely different game,” Ivey said. “What better way to get acclimated than to start off with three very solid teams, two of which have been playing outdoors all year round? So it definitely forced us to play at that level of tennis.”