July 21, 2019 | 83° F

Playoff push ends in sweep

Photo by Tian Li |

Freshman Gina Li was one of three players to sweep her opponents in singles play. Li defeated Georgetown’s Kelly Comolli, 6-4, 6-4, in No. 2 singles action.

The Rutgers tennis team finished its regular season Saturday with a dominant victory against Georgetown. The Scarlet Knights swept the Hoyas, 7-0, in an important Big East match in Washington, D.C.

Rutgers understood the strong implications of this match on its final seeding in the Big East Championships, and the Knights were focused on playing a competitive match going in.

“We were pretty nervous going in, but everyone went out there playing with high energy — and we played really well,” said junior Stefania Balasa.

This was Rutgers’ sixth sweep of the season and its third sweep in Big East play.

The Knights (13-7, 7-2) set the pace of the match during doubles play against Georgetown (14-6, 3-3). Rutgers dropped a closely contested doubles match start but battled back to take control of the rest of the contest.

The freshman duo of Lindsey Kayati and Mariam Zein won the next doubles match, 8-5. Balasa and sophomore Lindsay Balsamo took the final doubles match, 8-2.

“The way we started doubles really set us up for the rest of the match.” Balasa said. “We were able to go out and communicate with our partners well in doubles.”

Rutgers won in all of its singles matches — as the team swept all six contests.

Kayati, Zein and junior Vanessa Petrini all played close singles matches, and they were each able to leave their individual matches with wins.

Freshman Gina Li continued her strong rookie campaign with another victory to improve her singles record to 15-5 overall and 8-1 in Big East play.

Balasa and sophomore Noor Judeh both won their singles matches in two sets. Balasa defeated Sophie Panarese, 6-0, 6-1, while Judeh swept Taylor Perz, 6-4, 6-4.

The dominant victory is exactly what the Knights needed as they enter the Big East Championships.

The team has now won two straight games and four out of its last five Big East contests.

Rutgers now waits to find out its seed for the conference tournament. The Big East Championships take place April 18-21.

By Mike Kosinski

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