July 23, 2019 | 71° F

Challengers await RU?at Invitational

Photo by Conor Alwell |

Freshman Mariam Zein earns her first opportunity in tournament play.

The Rutgers tennis team begins its tournament schedule this weekend when it competes in the Brown Invitational in Providence, R.I.

The Scarlet Knights are one of six teams participating in the tournament, which includes Binghamton, Boston University, Boston College, Brown and Providence. Boston College and Brown each finished last year near the top of the Northeast Rankings.

Head coach Ben Bucca is excited for the tournament, and feels the team is ready for the challenge.

“I’m hopeful that we go to Brown where the competition is very strong and that they play well and play in a style that we have worked on at practice,” Bucca said.

The Knights have been working hard in practice to prepare for the tournament. They have specifically been focusing on certain strategies for singles and doubles play to use for the tournament, Bucca said.

“We’ve had a very strong two-and-a-half weeks of practice, and we’re now really starting to show signs of being ready to play strong competitive tennis,” Bucca said.

The Brown Invitational also serves as the first opportunity for three incoming freshmen to compete in a college-level tournament.

“It can be nerve-wracking for a freshman,” said freshman Mariam Zein. “But I’m totally ready to play with my team and I’ve been practicing hard, so hopefully I’ll get some good results.”

Bucca also has confidence in the young team and wants it to be prepared and execute what it has worked on in practice.

“With a young team like this, I’m looking for the players to come ready to play and be implementing some of the strategies that we’ve been working very hard on,” Bucca said.

Bucca also looks forward to the trip to see the team bond and grow closer together through the tournament.

“The Brown tournament is a fun trip, because not only are we going for a full weekend of very strong competition, but it’s also the first time the team gets to travel together,” Bucca said. “It enables us to have some team-building and team-bonding experiences, which makes playing on a college tennis team so much fun.”

The Brown Invitational is a tournament that consists of individual flighted tournaments. The tournament is anchored more toward individual rather than team play, Bucca said.

“We’re looking forward to the competition as well as enjoying one another’s time as teammates,” Bucca said.

By Mike Morton

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