Rutgers preps for tournament with scrimmage
Before its next tournament at Yale University, which is scheduled to start on Oct. 10, the Rutgers tennis team will test itself in an exhibition match against ASA junior college, located in New York City.
The match will be played at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Rutgers Tennis Complex.
Although ASA is a small school, it is currently the top-ranked junior college in the nation.
In addition, ASA won its first ever NJCAA championship last season, competing against Division I and Division II opponents in the process and finishing with an 8-4 record.
So Thursday will be an opportunity for the Knights to play against formidable competition before Friday’s tournament.
Senior Lindsay Balsamo, along with the rest of the team, understands how important the exhibition will be, even though it will not factor into the wins and losses count.
“The scrimmage will be great tournament preparation,” Balsamo said. “It will be good to try different strategies and see what works.”
One strategy that could continue to work is building upon the strong play exhibited by juniors Mariam Zein and Gina Li.
In their doubles matches, the duo went 3-1 and shined all the way to a respectable third-place finish in the Bear Flight competition.
As for head coach Ben Bucca, this exhibition provides an opportunity for the Knights to implement what they have worked on in practice for live match situations.
“[We are] really instilling a strategy that promotes playing high-quality tennis for singles and doubles that have worked for Rutgers in the past,” he said.
Despite an overall strong showing at Brown — Balsamo and freshman Lee Levy won their consolation match in the Eagles Doubles Flight, while Zein won her singles consolation match in the White Draw — the Knights must prepare for the large number of teams congregating for the important invitational looming ahead after this scrimmage.
Some of the entrants are teams not just among the elite of the Northeast, but also among the best teams in the entire nation as well.
“We’ve really improved our play since the first scrimmage [against NJIT],” Bucca said. “Next weekend, we play teams like Dartmouth, Yale and William and Mary. All of them have been ranked, so competition will be really strong, but the ladies have a great attitude about it.”
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